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A 34-year-old Iraq war veteran is the latest DFLer to join the open race for southern Minnesota's congressional seat.

Daniel Feehan is the fifth candidate to seek the DFL endorsement in what's expected to be one of the most-watched congressional races in the nation. One Republican has launched a bid and more are likely to join in.

The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a DFLer leaving the seat he's held for a decade in order to run for governor.

Feehan is part of a generation of people who served in Iraq now running for political office. He was an active-duty member of the Army from 2005 to 2009 and served two tours of duty in Iraq; he received the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

Walz also brought a military background to the seat, as the highest-ranking retired enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress. He was a strong critic of the Iraq war during his first campaign in 2006.

Feehan, who was born in St. Paul and grew up in Red Wing, recently moved from Washington, D.C., to North Mankato with his wife and two young sons. He said he would not be granting interviews about his congressional bid until next week.

Feehan spent most of his life out of Minnesota, receiving a bachelor's degree in international politics from Georgetown University and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He taught math to low-income fifth- and sixth-grade math students in Gary, Ind., and served as a White House Fellow from 2013 to 2017, rising to serve as the Pentagon's principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness.

Nationally, Republicans see a chance to wrest back the conservative-leaning district, which spans the southern tier of the state from the Wisconsin to the South Dakota border. Jim Hagedorn, who ran and lost to Walz in 2014 and 2016, is the only Republican in the race so far.

The other DFLers in the race so far are former state Sen. Vicki Jensen of Owatonna, John Austinson of Byron, Johnny Akzam of Rochester and Colin Minehart of Albert Lea.

Both parties are expected to pour in substantial sums of money to win the district, which Donald Trump carried by 16 points in the presidential race.

Feehan is kicking off his campaign in Mankato on Monday at 10 a.m. at the Leas Schwickert Arts Pavilion in Sibley Park.

Maya Rao • 202-662-7433