When Jim Ramstad (MN-R) retired his congressional seat in the third district, Erik Paulsen (R) campaigned as a Ramstad-clone and won the seat in 2008. He promised to lead in the same bi-partisan way Ramstad had for 18 years. A moderate Republican, Paulsen’s predecessor supported a woman’s right to choose, stem-cell research, gay rights (although not gay marriage) and was a champion of Paul Wellstone’s Mental Health Parity Act.
But Rep. Paulsen is not exactly a moderate legislator. While serving in the MN House of Representatives he received a 100% rating from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (an anti-choice, anti-stem cell research organization) six years in a row – and a 90% rating in 2008 while in Congress. He also supports a constitutional amendment banning the legalization of same-sex couples. But perhaps most telling, Paulsen will be an honorary host at Sarah Palin’s upcoming fundraiser for Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Minnesota’s great embarrassment.
Because Paulsen has failed to live up to the “moderate, bi-partisan” promise of his last campaign, the race for U.S. Rep. in Minnesota’s third is on. DFL candidates Jim Meffert and Maureen Hackett have been campaigning and debating for the endorsement won by newcomer Ashwin Madia in 2008. The debates have been uncontentious, both candidates preferring to highlight their own positions rather than attack each other. The final debate between Meffert and Hackett will be held on March 20, 2010 in the City Council Chambers at Minnetonka City Hall from 10:00 a.m. to noon.