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Bob Anderson, GOP candidate for Senate, visits Bemidji

Bob Anderson

BEMIDJI -- Republican Bob Anderson visited Bemidji Friday as part of his campaign for the party’s nomination in Minnesota’s special U.S. Senate election.

The visit comes about two weeks ahead of the Aug. 14 primary that will determine who will face off against the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party candidate in the November general election.

During his stop, Anderson told the Pioneer that his work in politics and policy began about 15 years ago after he had recovered from depression. In the months and years that followed, Anderson said he became an advocate for mental health care needs and testified on legislation related to the cause.

Anderson’s advocacy eventually led him to run for Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District as an independent in 2008. Eight years later, Anderson, who describes himself as a conservative, found himself supporting and caucusing for President Donald Trump.

In an interview, Anderson said that Trump came into the political world as an outsider to the establishment, and that he’d like to do the same.

“I’d really like to see the election process change, to get away from spending so much money and determining candidates by who has the most money,” Anderson said.

If elected to the Senate, Anderson said health care would be another high priority issue.

“It’s a really big burden on families, individuals and companies. Republicans were ‘no’ on everything related to the Affordable Care Act, but they didn’t come up with anything either,” Anderson said. “I was not opposed to having a public option in Minnesota. Not for it to be the sole plan, but another option. I like competition, even if it’s a type of catastrophic health plan.”

Outside of his political campaign, Anderson has private sector experience from working at his family owned dental supply business

Other candidates for the GOP nomination are District 39 Rep. Karin Housley of St. Marys Point and businessman Nikolay Bey. On the other side of the aisle, DFL candidates include incumbent Sen. Tina Smith, former White House chief ethics counsel Richard Painter, attorney Nick Leonard, retired Minnesota Department of Transportation designer Gregg Iverson, DFL delegate Ali Cheham Ali and teacher Chris Lovell Seymore Sr.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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