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Jim Meffert, the executive director of the Minnesota Optometric Association and president of the state PTA, became the second Democrat to file to run in the 3rd district, joining forensic psychiatrist Maureen Hackett in the race to take on freshman Rep. Erik Paulsen (R). Meffert told Roll Call he filed a statement of candidacy last week and the organizational paperwork Monday but has no immediate plans to formally launch a campaign, saying most voters still aren’t paying attention at this early stage. Instead, he is focused on laying the groundwork for the campaign, including fundraising and conducting grass-roots outreach with local Democratic constituencies in the suburban Minneapolis district.

Still looking at the race is state Sen. Terri Bonoff, who ran unsuccessfully for the party’s nomination in the district in 2008. Meffert said he and Bonoff “have talked quite a bit— and that it was his impression that she is “probably not going to go there— but is “waiting to see to make sure there’s another viable candidate.—

Paulsen is one of three GOP freshmen in districts President Barack Obama won in 2008, and Democrats plan to target him as someone who has failed to offer bipartisan solutions since coming to Congress. “He’s a safe Republican vote,— Meffert said. “That’s not something that really reflects this district.—

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