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St. Paul Park native wants to challenge Bachmann in GOP primary

Ron Seiford, a 42-year-old financial adviser, says he will continue on to the primary if he does not receive the Republican endorsement to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Challenging Michele Bachmann has become a biennial event for Democrats in the 6th Congressional District.

A Woodbury man, however, is hoping to unseat the three-term congresswoman through a different channel - he plans to beat her as a Republican.

Ron Seiford is currently collecting signatures to run as a Republican against Bachmann, who he expects will remain in his district after new district lines are finalized. Seiford, a 42-year-old financial adviser, said he plans to continue on to the August primary if he does not receive the GOP endorsement - a possibility he's aware is unlikely.

"She'll get the endorsement is what I'm assuming," he said last week.

He acknowledged the uphill battle he'll be facing in challenging the tested incumbent who last year abandoned a presidential campaign.

"But I think it's time for me to stand up and do something," he said.

Seiford is gathering signatures for a petition he plans to file later this year. State law allows his $1,000 filing fee to be waived if he collects at least 1,000 signatures.

As of last week, Seiford said he had collected about 200 names on the petition. Amassing the necessary signatures does not automatically complete his filing for office; Seiford must also submit an affidavit of candidacy to the Secretary of State's Office.

Seiford would be the first person to challenge Bachmann in the GOP primary since Sartell, Minn., resident Aubrey Immelman ran in 2008.

If he gets his name on the primary ballot, Seiford, who also works as an adjunct business instructor at Woodbury's Globe College, said he will carry a message calling for change in Washington, D.C.

"It really is time for them to go," he said of current members of Congress. "Incumbents really should be worried in 2012."

The St. Paul Park native said he's most concerned about the national debt, jobs and the economy.

"Those are the issues, I believe," he said, adding that people he's been meeting while gathering the signatures have been echoing those sentiments. "They're very concerned about jobs and the economy."

Seiford believes "reducing the burdens" of regulation and fees on small business owners will help stimulate economic growth.

As to the national debt, Seiford said lawmakers are simply spending more than they take in. To illustrate his point, he opened up a recent Wall Street Journal article outlining a 31 percent federal budget deficit.

He described himself as a conservative who, as the parent of a child with special needs, understands "you take care of those who can't take care of themselves.

"But we need to live within our means and we're not doing that at all."

Seiford said he never saw himself as a politician, but decided to run after being encouraged by business clients and some family members.

"People are pretty interested and they want to see some change," he said. "I'm willing to do that for a couple years."

But not for much longer, he said. Seiford is a proponent of enacting term limits for members of Congress. He said members of Congress should be able to serve no more than two terms.

The filing period for congressional candidates opens May 22 and runs through June 5.

Seiford is the second Woodbury resident to announce plans to run for national office. Jim Grinols announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate at the Feb. 7 Republican caucus in Woodbury.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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