Angie Craig confirms 2nd District run

DFL candidate who lost to Lewis in 2016 to seek nomination

Angie Craig

Eagan resident Angie Craig confirmed on Monday that she plans to seek the DFL endorsement for the chance to face U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis in what would be a rematch of the 2nd District race from 2016.

Craig will vie for the DFL endorsement along with longtime Rosemount High School teacher and coach Jeff Erdmann, who announced he would be running in May.

Craig lost to Lewis in a closely contested race with the longtime radio talk show host Lewis earning 46.95 percent of the vote, while Craig had 45.16 percent. Independence Party candidate Paula Overby had 7.79 percent of the vote.

Jeff Erdmann

“We deserve a representative who will listen to everyone — even those we might disagree with — and then work to create a level playing field for every family,” said Craig, 45, who stepped down from her leadership responsibilities as vice president of global human resources at St. Paul-based St. Jude Medical to focus on her 2016 campaign.

“I’m ready to use my experience to work to lower health care costs and ensure every family has access to care,” she said in a statement. “I’m ready to fight for public education and more affordable college and job training. I’m ready to fight for good paying jobs and for the Social Security and Medicare benefits that Minnesotans have already paid for. I’m ready to fight Washington to make sure this district is heard and gets what it deserves.”

It had long been speculated by political observers that Craig would enter the 2018 race. Unlike Lewis, she did not have to face a primary challenge as two others who had sought the DFL nomination withdrew in January 2016 to rally around Craig.

Jason Lewis

The Republican primary included four candidates with Lewis winning handily. He campaigned on a platform of repealing the Affordable Care Act, a smaller government footprint in people’s lives, cutting federal spending and reforming the tax code.

Lewis succeeded U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Burnsville, who served seven terms in Congress before retiring in January.

Craig said she plans to embark on a listening tour of the district before formally launching her campaign this fall.

“Washington is failing our families — and Jason Lewis is part of the problem,” Craig said. “Instead of being an independent voice, Lewis has marched in lockstep with President Trump and Congressional Republican leaders. The fight for health care is just one example — he voted to increase premiums and deductibles, to raise costs dramatically for older Americans and to cut coverage for millions of Americans — all to give a tax cut to the rich. Lewis then celebrated in the Rose Garden.”

Lewis said in a statement Monday: “After voters rejected Angie Craig’s radical ideas in 2016, it looks like she’ll fight over those same bad ideas this time around with Jeff Erdmann.

“Seems as though these Democrat candidates just haven’t learned their lesson. One candidate already wants to threaten Medicare solvency with a government-run single payer plan, and today’s announcement from Angie Craig means more of the same from someone who did more to bring Obamacare and the failed MNSure exchange to our state than almost anyone else.”

Erdmann said in a statement that he welcomed Craig to the DFL endorsement race.

“I look forward to getting to know her over the course of this process and have the opportunity to discuss more issues that matter to hard working Americans,” Erdmann said. “Although Angie Craig and I differ on many issues, this race will highlight what Minnesotans want as their representation in D.C. One stance we both completely agree on is that both Angie Craig, and I, must respect and abide by the DFL endorsement process.”

At the time she entered the 2nd District race in 2016, Craig remained with St. Jude, focusing on initiatives such as diversity and inclusion, veteran hiring and workforce development with colleges and universities.

She held her previous role for four years with responsibility for all aspects of the 16,000 St. Jude Medical employees globally.

Craig joined St. Jude Medical in 2005 as vice president of corporate relations with responsibility for health policy, government affairs, investor relations, public relations and internal communications, according to the company.

Prior to working at St. Jude Medical, Craig spent more than 10 years at London-based orthopedics company Smith & Nephew. She led corporate affairs in addition to communications, public relations and government affairs.

Craig has a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and began her career as a newspaper reporter in Memphis.

Craig has four sons with her wife, Cheryl Greene.

A story about Erdmann’s entrance into the 2nd District race is at http://sunthisweek.com/2017/05/24/rosemount-teacher-coach-running-for-congress/.

Contact Tad Johnson at tad.johnson@ecm-inc.com or at twitter.com/editorTJ.