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8th District Republicans endorse Cravaack for second term to U.S. House

U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack addresses delegates at the 8th Congressional District GOP Convention Saturday in Park Rapids. ANNA ERICKSON | FORUM COMMUNICATIONS CO.

PARK RAPIDS -- U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack overwhelmingly received the GOP's endorsement for a second term at the 8th Congressional District convention Saturday.

"It's been unbelievable what has happened in two short years," he told convention delegates Saturday morning in Park Rapids. "Together, we have moved boundaries. You told politicians you better listen to us, the people."

Convention delegates gave Cravaack a standing ovation several times during his brief speech. The first term congressman won the election in 2010, ousting longtime Congressman Jim Oberstar, who had served since 1975.

He said "Team Cravaack" won because of heart and not because of money.

"We knew that freedom and liberty were being challenged and we were going to stop it," he said. "The same motivation inspires me continually in Washington, D.C."

Much more work needs to be done, though, Cravaack acknowledged.

"The election of a Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 was a good first step in at least attempting to restore sanity to government spending," he said in a letter to convention delegates. "However, our country's perilous march toward insolvency continues."

Cravaack has held 43 town hall meetings in the district and said he will continue to listen to his constituents.

As an example, Cravaack said he received tremendous pressure from former representatives and political leaders in Washington, D.C. to vote in favor of raising the national debt.

"The people of my district told me they didn't want to raise the national debt and I listened to them," he said.

The upcoming election will be grueling, Cravaack said. He said he is encouraged by his supporters and asked for their help in campaigning this year.

The DFL will endorse a candidate for the 8th Congressional District at its convention Saturday, May 5 in Duluth.

"It's going to be a very challenging election, though, and it's not going to be a slam dunk," he said. "It's going to be a national race and we're prepared for it."

Several other speakers addressed convention delegates Saturday.

Pete Hegseth is seeking state endorsement for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by DFLer Amy Klobuchar.

As a veteran, Hegseth said he recognizes the need for a strong military to protect the country.

"America is the greatest country this world has ever known but what we have here cannot be taken for granted," he said.

Limited government, the free enterprise system, peace through strength and a return to the U.S. Constitution are on the path to a stronger nation, he said.

"We need a bold, new path in a conservative direction," Hegseth said.

Dan "Doc" Severson is also seeking endorsement for the U.S. Senate seat against Klobuchar.

"This is about taking our country back," he said.

The checklist for America is the U.S. Constitution, Severson said.

"This Constitution has served us for over 224 years but it seems like in the last decade it's been thrown off to the side," he said.

Klobuchar hasn't been doing her job, Severson said.

"We're going to take out Sen. Klobuchar but we're going to need your help to do it," he said.

A GOP endorsement for U.S. Senate will be made at the state convention May 18-19 in St. Cloud.

National delegates and alternatives were elected at Saturday's convention as well and resolutions were discussed.

The 8th Congressional District Convention brought more than 300 people to Park Rapids.

ANNA ERICKSON is a writer for the Park Rapids Enterprise. The Bemidji Pioneer and the Enterprise are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.