Erik Paulsen is arguably the most vulnerable member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation. As a freshman legislator in a swing district, who won election last year with less than 50 percent of the vote, he would seem an attractive target for Democrats in an election cycle where vulnerable Republican incumbents will be scarce. Even so, no official candidates have emerged to challenge the Third Congressional District legislator.
That’s likely to change soon. Maureen Hackett, a forensic psychiatrist and U.S. Air Force veteran, is seriously eyeing the contest. “I have not made a formal announcement,” Hackett says, “but I am very, very strongly considering a candidacy.”
During the 2008 election cycle, Hackett contributed more than $20,000 to political campaigns, almost exclusively to Democrats, according to records maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. In the third district contest she gave $3,050 to Democrat Ashwin Madia but also contributed $1,500 to Independence Party candidate David Dillon.
Hackett might not be the only Democrat looking to take on Paulsen. Minnesota Progressive Project reported earlier this week that Jim Meffert-Nelson, president of the Minnesota PTA, will announce his candidacy shortly. (Meffert-Nelson didn’t return calls from Minnesota Independent seeking comment.)
State Sen. Terri Bonoff, who narrowly lost the DFL endorsement to Madia in 2008, isn’t ruling out a run either. “I’m not in it at this point,” she says, “but the door is open.”
Whoever ultimately becomes the Democratic nominee will face an uphill battle financially. At the end of last month Paulsen had more than $700,000 in the bank.