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In race to succeed Kline, DFLers pick Craig while GOP field grows

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In Minnesota's Second Congressional District, the list of candidates is shrinking for one major party and expanding for the other.

The Democratic field is now down to one. Angie Craig, a former medical executive from Eagan, gained endorsements from a handful of prominent DFLers on Wednesday, the day after her leading rival for the party endorsement, Mary Lawrence, dropped out of the race.

In withdrawing, Lawrence said a primary race against Craig would have been expensive and would have divided the party as Democrats try to capture the seat Republican John Kline has held since 2002.

The other Democrat in the race, Roger Kittelson, was widely considered a long-shot until the DFL party announced that he, too, ended his campaign on Wednesday.

There's still time for another Democrat to enter the race, but Craig seems to be consolidating support within the party. She picked up endorsements Wednesday from U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Republican field up to six

Meanwhile, a new Republican had entered the race. Darlene Miller of Prior Lake, who is the CEO of Burnsville-based Permac Industries, filed her paperwork on Wednesday, the Pioneer Press reports.

The newspaper says that while Miller's name may not be familiar to voters, she has donated to several Republican politicians and is a member of a nonpartisan council that advises President Obama on economic issues.

Miller joins fellow Republicans Jason Lewis, John Howe, Pam Myhra, David Gerson, and David Benson-Staebler in the race.

The Second District

Minnesota's Second Congressional District covers suburbs south and east of the Twin Cities and extends through Goodhue and Wabasha Counties.

Even though its voters sent Republican Kline to Washington for 14 years, many pundits consider it a swing district.

As MinnPost noted last fall, the Second District has recently backed Democrats including President Obama and Sen. Al Franken.

The contest to succeed Kline is listed by the Cook Political Report as one of only 16 House races nationwide that are a tossup.

Two political scientists told the Pioneer Press last week the Second District will be Minnesota's most competitive and most interesting Congressional race this year.

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