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Three GOP Candidates Vie to Challenge Ellison

Torgerson, Katch and Fields take on Rep. Ellison, spending, big government

There has not been a Republican serving in Congress from Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District for 50 years. Indeed, the district is considered one of the country’s top Democratic strongholds.

Still, that has not deterred three people from chasing the GOP endorsement to run against incumbent Rep. Keith Ellison, who will be seeking his fourth term in congress in the 2012 election.

The Fifth District encompasses all of Minneapolis and includes all, or parts of, cities such as St. Louis Park, Richfield, Hopkins and Golden Valley.

Between 75 and 100 people attended a debate between the three Republican candidates held Tuesday evening at the Uptown VFW on 29th Street and Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis

Hosted by radio talk show host Bob Davis, the three candidates—, Michael Katch and —spent nearly 90 minutes trying to differentiate themselves from each other and assaulting either Ellison, the government, or both.

Torgerson accused Ellison of being a “radical Muslim,” .

She alleged Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is a fundraiser for the Council on American Islamic Relations, which she called "a terrorist support group which advocates replacing the U.S. Constitution with Islamic Sharia law.”

Ellison has denied he holds that view, and in a written statement issued by his re-election campaign on Wednesday afternoon, said Torgerson attacked him "simply because of my faith."

Chris Fields, who up until recently was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, emphasized his belief that “America is not a country in decline, but we need sound and effective leadership in Congress.”

“People need to be self-sufficient and not relaying on the government,” he added.

All three agreed that government is "too big and too ineffective."

“I am in favor of eliminating several federal government departments such as education, commerce and the EPA,” said Katch, echoing a favorite talking point of Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry. “I think once they were gone, people wouldn’t even notice or miss them.

When a question from the audience asked if the three would support the party platform and the person who gets the nomination, Katch said yes to both. However, Torgerson and Fields never really answered the question. Torgerson used the opportunity as an opening to question whether Fields is really a Libertarian.

“I am a Republican,” Fields shot back.

Torgerson, who calls herself pro-life and pro-Israel, asked both of the other two candidates to show their opposition to abortion by advocating and pushing for legal restrictions on the practice.

All three also criticized the size of the federal government and the deficit.

“Within the next 10 years, government needs to be smaller and spending dramatically less,” Katch said. “We need to invest in the individual.”

Torgerson didn’t advocate any specific elimination of departments, but instead said she wants what amounts to across-the-board cuts in the federal budget.

“The federal budget is full of special interest, lobbyist and pork barrel spending,” added Fields. “If elected, I would confront Congress to address these issues.

“I will be my own man," he said. "As a freshmen representative I would not be going to Washington just to carry John Boehner’s (the House speaker) golf bags.”

Jon Olson December 01, 2011 at 01:37 PM
The author of this article inaccurately reported the debate on at least one point. When asked whether they would support the candidate selected by the party, only Fields stated he would abide wholly by the decision of the GOP and that his campaign would end if he did not receive the endorsement. Mike Katch stated he had not yet filed to run, but that he was also seeking the Independence Party endorsement. Lynne Torgerson stated she was undecided as to whether she would continue her efforts to be elected even if the party did not endorse her, leaving open the possibility she would challenge the GOP endorsed candidate through to the primary.
Kevin O'Donovan December 01, 2011 at 04:25 PM
The baby rabbits are running outside in the snow . They might be Ellison supporters! I'll have to see if they're registered to vote.Could be Ellison supporters because we all know rabbits. They like carrots, and that's what Dems always offer voters, carrots produced and paid for by someone else. On the other hand rabbits reproduce like crazy and I'm not sure they would support his Pro-Abortion / Planned Parenthood positions. What a dilemma ! More dead children mean more carrots. Maybe the rabbits can find their own carrots, and we can all vote GOP and keep more of what we produce? What a great idea! Can we have tea with those carrots? I think both are anti-carcinogenic. Let's celebrate with a Tea Party!
Bryan Davidson January 12, 2012 at 03:48 PM
The only thing Lynne "Cruella de Vil" Torgerson is good at is splitting the conservative vote and embarrassing Republicans in Minnesota.
Rusty January 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I hope they debate

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