St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, a Republican on the largely Democratic-county's governing body, said he plans to join the race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken .
"I’m not running solely because of the person that is holding the position, I am running because I really feel that Chris Dahlberg can make a difference," Dahlberg said. "I don't believe I'm being naive to say that a person can make a difference in Washington, DC. It is difficult but it can be done."
Dahlberg will be the fourth Republican to toss his name into contention in the race against Franken. Already state Rep. Jim Abeler, state Sen. Julianne Ortman and businessman Mike McFadden have launched campaigns to take down the one-term Senator.
But Dahlberg, the only candidate from outside the metro area, will start with a big backer.
Stanley Hubbard, the chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., this week emailed his compatriots that he will be supporting Dahlberg.
"My wife Karen and I have agreed to help him get off to a good start. Getting off to a good start requires a bankroll. In that regard, we hope that you will consider helping Chris," Hubbard said in an email.
Hubbard has help to offer. He is one of the biggest donors in Minnesota and gives largely to Republican candidates and causes. Hubbard does not support Republicans exclusively. He was a fan of Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar last year in her re-election bid.
In Dahlberg, Hubbard said, he sees a trait that the other Republican candidates in the race lack.
"I think he is able to connect with people," Hubbard said in an interview. He said he would support the eventual Republican Senate nominee but for now, Dahlberg, "is the one that I’m helping right now."
Dahlberg said the he understands that raising the millions he may need for a successful campaign may be a challenge -- "I’m not a Pollyanna," he said. -- but he is hopeful that he can create a spark that will make it possible.
He said he represents a Duluth district with "hard-working, blue-collar Democratic roots" filled with people who are, "compassionate for the truly needy but they're not for foolish spending."
"While I’m a limited government person, I, by no means, am a 'no government' person," Dahlberg said.
Dahlberg said that he plans to make his run official late next month. That will allow him to campaign without overlapping his military service. He will retire with 25 years of service from the U.S. Army Reserves, in which he served in Iraq, on October 1, he said.
Correction: Contrary to an earlier version of this post, Dahlberg is not the only Republican on the county board.