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Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 4th Congressional District

In the 4th District, Republican challenger Gene Rechtzigel will take on incumbent Betty McCollum.

Bring Me The News is looking at each of Minnesota's nine congressional races (nine House, one Senate) in the lead-up to Nov. 3.

Today we look at the 4th Congressional District, which includes the city of St. Paul and surrounding suburbs in Ramsey and Washington counties.

Who's running?

  • Rep. Betty McCollum (D-inc)
  • Gene Rechtzigel (R)
  • Susan Sindt (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis)

The seat is currently held by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who has held the position since 2001. In 2018, voters in the 4th Congressional District reelected McCollum with 66% of the vote.

District map

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What happened last time?

McCollum comfortably beat Republican challenger Greg Ryan and Sindt, gaining 66% of the vote in the solidly blue district.

The race so far:

The race for the 4th District has been comparatively quiet in comparison to some of Minnesota's other, more competitive districts.

McCollum, first elected in 2000, easily won her primary in August with 84% of the vote, but Rechtzigel came from nowhere to take the GOP nomination.

As self-described "self-employed farmer, property manager, self-taught legal expert," Rechtzigel didn't receive the GOP endorsement for the district, but nonetheless triumphed over Sia Lo, albeit in a low-turnout primary.

Where do the candidates stand?

In her most recent term, McCollum has been outspoken about her opposition to mining in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. She currently chairs the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, where she oversees $35 billion in spending. Her Interior-Environment appropriations bill also banned oil drilling off the coast of Florida and the Atlantic seaboard.

She has also been a critic of Israeli military actions in Palestine. She authored a bill in 2019 that would prevent the U.S. from funding actions that detain Palestinian children and families.

McCollum told WCCO she favors more federal funding for law enforcement, but called for increased accountability. Her website contains her positions on a comprehensive list of issues, which you can find here.

Rechtzigel's website front page is dominated by  an attack on McCollum over the long-term PFAS pollution of the east metro, for which 3M paid out a significant settlement in recent years.

He also pitches his own healthcare policy, which he calls "Genecare," that is aimed at expanding choice of healthcare providers, and at its basic level gives residents a $4,800 annual payment so people can have their choice of "preventive and/or alternative care providers, including traditional Chinese medicine."

His "issues" page includes a policy that is typically associated with progressive positions, calling for proportional representation in the Senate and repealing the 17th Amendment, while his site also has a "Political Zombie Page" that contains attacks on former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and McCollum.

According to Sindt's campaign website, Sindt advocates for single-payer healthcare and tuition-free higher education. She is the owner of Simply Vapour in Maplewood and a former public school teacher.

The Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis party gained major party status in Minnesota after the 2018 Midterm elections.

Sindt told WCCO that she believes racial disparities in the state and across the country can start to be addressed by legalizing recreational marijuana use. She also spoke in favor of government-subsidized broadband internet in rural areas. 

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