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Report: War vet Hegseth to challenge Klobuchar

Jake Grovum//February 22, 2012

Report: War vet Hegseth to challenge Klobuchar

Jake Grovum//February 22, 2012

Pete Hegseth, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who gained national political notoriety through the political action committee Vets for Freedom, has decided to challenge U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her seat this November, Hegseth told the Star Tribune Tuesday.

“I can tell you the paperwork’s in the mail,” he told the paper. “It is very much all systems go.”

There had long been buzz about a possible entry into the race from Hegseth, as Republicans in Minnesota and Washington alike have looked for a challenger to take on the ultra-popular Klobuchar. She has consistently had among the highest approval ratings of any sitting Senator in a Congress that, collectively, has seen historically low approval. Because of that, political handicappers have painted it an uphill battle for any candidate hoping to unseat the state’s senior senator.

But Hegseth’s story is appealing for candidate-hungry Republicans. He served tours in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and spent three years as head of Vets for Freedom, a group that says in its mission statement its goal is to “educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American strategy and tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Through his work with that group, and his notoriety stemming from it, Hegseth has appeared on cable news programs talking politics. He gave testimony during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and contributed a number of op-ed articles to outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review and Washington Times.

A native of Forest Lake, Minn., Hegseth graduated from Princeton University before being commissioned as an officer in the National Guard after earning his degree.

Hegseth joins three other Republicans in the field to challenge Klobuchar. Among them: St. Bonifacius City Council Member Joe Arwood, Anthony Hernandez, a businessman from St. Paul, and former state House Rep. Dan Severson.

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