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Keep an Eye on the Minnesota Senate Race

6:07 PM, Mar 6, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Pete Hegseth, a 31-year-old veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has announced a bid for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Trading the battlefield for a political battle, Pete Hegseth launched his campaign for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

Just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Hegseth, 31, has never run for public office and is launching a campaign against a popular Democratic incumbent with just months to go before the August GOP primary. But he says he has the ideas and drive that Minnesota needs.

"There's a reason we got into this race late. I just got back from an overseas tour in Afghanistan, where I was serving with the Army National Guard," said Hegseth, who returned in January from his third tour of duty. He was serving as an instructor in counter-insurgency techniques for U.S., NATO and Afghan troops.

"War has taught me, repeatedly, some very, very important lessons," Hegseth said, "among them that time is precious and what we have in this country is worth fighting for."

He enters the race just as two other GOP hopefuls abandoned their bids to unseat first-term U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who's proven a formidable fundraiser and is popular in polls.

Here's the video Hegseth released announcing his bid last week: 

Minnesota has been considered a safe seat for Democrats, but Hegseth is the kind of candidate who could make the race competitive. He's a young veteran, articulate conservative, and Princeton alumnus (where he played basketball, but not, alas, against Jeremy Lin). Minnesota obviously leans Democratic, but it's not nearly as blue as Massachusetts, where National Guardsman Scott Brown scored a surprise upset in 2010 and continues to lead in the polls. It turned out Brown was just the right fit for Massachusetts. Hegseth might be just the right fit for Minnesota.

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