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Republican Party activists have backed conservative attorney Tayler Rahm to take on U.S. Rep. Angie Craig in Minnesota's Second Congressional District, a battleground target for both parties this fall.

Rahm, who has never run for office before, positioned himself as the outsider candidate. He beat out former federal prosecutor Joe Teirab, who had said he plans to run in the August primary election regardless of the results of Saturday's endorsing convention. Rahm won on the first ballot with 74% of the vote from party activists over Teirab's 25%.

"I am deeply honored and humbled by the trust and confidence placed in me by the delegates of CD2," Rahm said in a statement. "As your Republican endorsed candidate for Congress, I am committed to tirelessly advocating for our shared values and fighting to make changes that benefit all of us, not just some of us."

In western Minnesota's Seventh District, a conservative small business owner who's never held public office put up a spirited challenge against Republican U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach and blocked her from getting the party's endorsement. GOP activists in the west-suburban Third District endorsed a former state legislator to run for the seat left open by Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, who announced he wouldn't seek re-election.

Endorsed Republican candidates in Minnesota tend to win primary elections. But in the Second District race, Teirab has raised dramatically more money than Rahm so far this cycle. He recently reported ending March with $662,000 in the bank, while Rahm had $59,500.

"This election is too important to let Angie Craig go against the weakest Republican challenger in decades," Teirab said after the vote. "We have the message and the resources to prosecute the case against Angie Craig, and I look forward to earning the trust and support of Republican primary voters."

The outcome of that race is critical for Republicans, who are fighting this fall to maintain their narrow control of the U.S. House. The Second District, represented since 2018 by Craig, is one of a few remaining swing districts in the country that offer them a chance to pick up a seat. Some Republicans are worried that a potential primary battle will give them a disadvantage, while others have criticized the endorsing process for choosing candidates who don't have broad appeal.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said Republicans endorsed "a rubber stamp for their MAGA agenda" in backing Rahm.

"In Congress, Tayler Rahm would be a rubber stamp for congressional Republicans as they push for a national abortion ban, seek even more special interest tax breaks for the big drug companies, and make devastating cuts to Social Security and Medicare," he said.

Republicans in the Third District endorsed former judge and legislator Tad Jude. Jude is poised to face state Sen. Kelly Morrison, who is running for the open seat on the Democratic side.

In western Minnesota, a contentious endorsement battle between Fischbach and challenger Steve Boyd spanned multiple rounds of voting. Delegates eventually ended the convention with no endorsement.

Both candidates had signaled they plan to run through the August primary election regardless of Saturday's results.

"Despite having every opportunity to respect our party's process, our traditions, and the opinions of grassroots delegates, Steve Boyd is defying the endorsement and forcing a primary election," Norann Dillon, executive director of Fischbach's congressional campaign, wrote in a recent email.

The 38-year-old Boyd is a political outsider, a small-business owner from Kensington who's never held public office. He's said the Seventh Congressional District would be better served by a new voice, arguing that Fischbach, a former state senator for more than two decades, is a political insider.

"My goal would be to do politics a different way and run in a manner that engages more people in the process. Don't just work the numbers so we win. Stand on principle," Boyd recently told the Star Tribune. He added he would be willing to shut down the government to fix the border crisis.

Fischbach has one of the most conservative voting records in Congress and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Even so, many Trump-aligned conservative activists in the district have backed Boyd over Fischbach.