Forensic psychiatrist Maureen Hackett (D) filed paperwork earlier this month in the 3rd district, making her the first Democrat taking formal steps toward challenging freshman Rep. Erik Paulsen (R).
Hackett says she remains in “serious exploration mode,— but Federal Election Commission records released over the weekend show she formed a Hackett for Congress fundraising committee Oct. 15. The former Air Force psychiatrist is expected to make an announcement in the next two weeks.
Jim Meffert-Nelson (D), president of the Minnesota PTA, is also expected to announce his bid in the coming weeks. And state Sen. Terri Bonoff, who lost a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2008, has not ruled out another run.
Democrats view Paulsen as a promising target. He is one of just three freshman Republicans in the House whose district voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. He won less than 50 percent of the vote in the suburban Minneapolis district, defeating Democrat Ashwin Madia 49 percent to 41 percent in a race that also included third-party candidate David Dillon.
Paulsen has, however, built up a solid financial cushion, reporting $725,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.