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Eagan woman likely to be state's first transgender congressional candidate

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Political newcomer Paula Overby of Eagan says she's the first openly transgender person to run for Congress in Minnesota.

The Pioneer Press reports Overby, 59, has nearly enough signatures on a petition to get on next year's Democratic primary ballot to challenge U.S. Rep. John Kline in the state's 2nd District.

Overby, a quality assurance analyst, was born a man and now identifies as a woman. ECM Publishers reports she's currently undergoing the process of physically becoming female.

"There is a significant level of prejudice that exists against transgendered people," Overby told the Pioneer Press. "Some people will see this as a mark of enormous courage. There are other people who won't vote for me because of it."

She hopes her gender identity might help reach people who don't usually vote.

OutFront Minnesota, an LGBT advocacy group, and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that works to get LGBT people elected, say they aren't aware of any previous transgender candidates in the state.

The divorced parent of three hasn't held an appointed office, but ECM Publishers says Overby serves on the DFL State Party Central Committee.

Overby is expected to join the race with fellow Democrats Thomas Craft and former state lawmaker Mike Obermueller, along with Republican engineer David Gearson.

Both Overby and Craft worked on Obermueller's campaign to unseat Kline in 2012 which was unsuccessful.

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