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Diana Longrie intends to challenge U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum for the DFL nomination in the Fourth Congressional District.The former Maplewood mayor made the surprise announcement at Saturday's Senate District 53 convention.

Former Maplewood mayor will challenge McCollum for DFL nomination

Betty McCollum

Betty McCollum

Diana Longrie intends to challenge U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum for the DFL nomination in the Fourth Congressional District. The former Maplewood mayor made the surprise announcement at Saturday’s Senate District 53 convention.

“If you’re happy with the status quo, then continue to back Congresswoman Betty McCollum,” Longrie tells PIM. “You know what you’ve got with the status quo. I feel very strongly about what we need to do as we move forward.”

In particular, Longrie cites the war in Afghanistan and the corporate bailouts of corporations such as AIG as two areas where U.S policies need to change dramatically. She expects to run against the five-term incumbent in a primary even if she fails to get the party’s endorsement.

Longrie served one term as mayor of Maplewood. She lost a re-election contest last year to Will Rossbach. Longrie also challenged incumbent state Rep. Leon Lillie in a DFL primary in 2008, but garnered just 20 percent of the vote.

McCollum has not faced a primary challenge since her first congressional run in 2000, when she easily defeated three other DFL candidates. The five-term incumbent has won at least 58 percent of the vote in her last three re-election contests.

“I know it’s an uphill battle,” Longrie says. “The chances of getting the endorsement may be slim.”

There is also expected to be a crowded Republican scrum to face McCollum in the general election. According to Bill Jungbauer, a vice chair of the state GOP and CD 4 resident, at least five candidates intend to seek the party’s nomination. The list of candidates so far: Brad Lee, Joe Blum, Teresa Collett, Anthony Hernandez and Gene Rechtzigel.


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