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Former judge and state lawmaker Tad Jude has launched a Republican campaign for Congress in Minnesota's west-suburban Third District, seeking to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips, who is running for president.

The 72-year-old Jude has decades of public service experience, serving as a district court judge, a Hennepin County commissioner and a state representative and senator. Jude, who lives in Maple Grove with his wife, said "there are problems that need to be fixed in Washington," such as reining in inflation and strengthening security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Most of my years in public office have been elected to nonpartisan jobs, like the county board … district court judge," Jude said in an interview Wednesday. "In those roles, what you're trying to do is solve problems that people have."

That problem-solving approach aligns with the values of residents in Minnesota's Third District, he said.

The Third District had been represented by Republicans for more than 50 years until Phillips won election in 2018. It's been solidly blue since then, with Phillips easily winning re-election twice and voters backing Biden over Trump by an overwhelming margin in 2020.

Jude believes the district is still winnable for Republicans: "As long as I can remember, Minnesota has had a tradition of voting for the best candidate."

He is the first well-known Republican to enter the race, joining some other GOP candidates who've announced campaigns recently. Two Democrats, state Sen. Kelly Morrison and Democratic National Committee member Ron Harris, are also running.

Jude said he would focus on improving public safety, the economy and the country's national debt. He said he also would seek to address border security and the "broken" asylum process for immigrants.

"We need to have a border that's effective and an immigration system that works," he said.

Jude said he voted for former President Donald Trump twice and will support whoever is on the Republican ticket this fall. The economy was stronger under Trump, he said, and the court system became more politically balanced.

But Jude called the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol a "very sad day" and said he believes any attacks on law enforcement that day "had to be prosecuted."

Asked if he believes Trump's baseless claim that the 2020 election was illegitimate, Jude said: "Joe Biden is president, and I accept him as president."