Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah has joined the field of GOP contenders seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the 6th Congressional District. Sivarajah announced her plan to seek the seat at an event in Ham Lake on Wednesday morning.
“I’m running because I look at what has happened to our country and I’m very concerned about the direction that it’s headed,” Sivarajah said. “I’ve been able to make positive changes at Anoka County, and I think I can bring the same sort of positive change to Washington as well.”
Sivarajah is the second candidate to officially enter the fray. Last week former state Rep. Tom Emmer, who was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2010, announced his intention to run for the seat.
In addition, state Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, has formed an exploratory committee to determine whether a candidacy would be feasible. Other potential Republican candidates still thought to be weighing a run: former state GOP chair Pat Shortridge, state Rep. Matt Dean (Dellwood), former state Reps. Phil Krinkie (Shoreview) and Jim Knoblach (St. Cloud) and conservative talk show host Jason Lewis.
The only potential DFL challenger to emerge in the state’s most conservative district is Judy Adams, a Circle Pines resident who has not previously run for office.
GOP state legislators on hand for Sivarajah’s announcement included Sens. Michelle Benson (Ham Lake) and Roger Chamberlain (Lino Lakes) and Reps. Linda Runbeck (Circle Pines), Peggy Scott (Andover) and Brian Johnson (Cambridge).
Sivarajah, who is chair of the Anoka County board, was former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert‘s running mate in the 2010 gubernatorial contest. Seifert lost the GOP endorsement to Emmer and dropped out of the race.
Sivarajah intends to seek the GOP endorsement, but hasn’t decided whether she will run in a primary if someone else wins party backing. If ultimately successful in her congressional bid, Sivarajah suggested that she will take a lower-key approach than Bachmann to representing the 6th Congressional District.
“We do have a lot of the same core beliefs,” Sivarajah said. “I think the difference is maybe in the approach.”