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Carla Nelson to run for Congress

Carla Nelson to run for Congress

Rochester Republican Carla Nelson is set to announce her candidacy for Minnesota's First Congressional District. 

On Sunday, her campaign team sent out a media advisory for a "special announcement" scheduled for Monday 10 a.m. at Textile Care Services in Rochester. Rumors of a forthcoming announcement from Nelson had been circulating for months.

Nelson, a longtime state legislator, is only the second southern Minnesota Republican to enter the 2018 race (eight Democrats have announced bids). Jim Hagedorn, of Blue Earth County, is hoping to be the party's nominee for the third consecutive election cycle. Hagedorn lost to Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in 2014 and 2016.

Walz, who is campaigning for Minnesota governor, has held the First District seat since 2007. However, the mostly rural district tilts Republican — with only Olmsted County voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. 

While Nelson, now a state senator, is a well-known political figure in Rochester, she will need to expand her appeal across a district that extends from Winona to Mankato to Worthington. Also making it difficult for Nelson is the fact that Hagedorn has already secured a number of key Republican endorsements.

Prior to being elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2011, Nelson worked as a teacher and small business owner. She also served in the Minnesota House from 2003 to 2004.

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