Thomas Craft, of Eagan, lines up to challenge Kline

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol Reporter

He has a candor voters will like, said Thomas Craft.

Thomas Craft

Thomas Craft

A Democrat from Eagan, Craft recently announced his candidacy for Congress. He is vying among fellow Democrats to challenge six-term Republican Congressman John Kline in 2014.

“I’ve got to be honest; I don’t think he (Kline) represents the district,” Craft said. The district covers the southern metro area. Instead, Kline is intent on climbing the House Republican leadership ladder, he said.

Born in Little Falls, Craft, 30, attended Saint John’s University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. He spent one year in China studying language and culture, according to his campaign.

Craft and his wife Karolina have a 3-year-old son and are expecting another child in October.

“There a lot of young families in the 2nd District,” Craft said.

It was fatherhood, and worries about the future awaiting his son, that moved Craft to run. Beyond this, he’s seeking office because Congress isn’t working, Craft said in announcing his candidacy.

Craft will “absolutely” abide by the Democratic 2nd District endorsement, he said.

Like Paula Overby, another Democratic 2nd District congressional hopeful, Craft worked on former Rep. Mike Obermueller’s congressional campaign in 2012. Obermueller is again seeking to take Kline on, claiming the Obermueller campaign has momentum plus the ability to raise campaign funding.

Though saying he would wholeheartedly support the endorsed Democratic candidate, Craft believes he has the best chance at defeating Kline.

“I think it’s good for the (Democratic) Party,” he said of competition.

His candidacy can galvanize younger voters, Craft argued, and better tap in the union vote. Craft’s father, who worked on the railroad, was a union machine operator.

He talked of bringing a longer view to Congress, a body in which longer views are measured in terms of news cycle, he explained.

He’s willing to work with Republicans, he said. The only thing that irks him, Craft explained, is unreasonableness.

Craft is willing to put everything on the table in the hunt for solutions, he said. He intends to push for a constitutional convention, or national gathering, to resolve the issues facing the country.

Craft looks for more federal investment in jobs, education, infrastructure.

He is currently building the foundation of his campaign and is courting delegates. He looks to raise more than $2 million, saying support follows the strongest message.

Craft conceded he would be outspent by Kline. But by having a strong message, appealing to young voters and others underrepresented at the polls, he can beat Kline, he argued.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we can do it,” he said.

Kline won re-election in 2012 by winning about 54 percent of the vote. That was the lowest percentage of win since Kline beat former Congressman Bill Luther in 2002 by winning about 53 percent of the vote. But Kline chalked up some losses before finally winning.

 

Tim Budig is at tim.budig@ecm-inc.com.

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