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Jim Meffert, the executive director of the Minnesota Optometrists Association and president of the state PTA, has 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-Minn.

Meffert told CQ Politics he filed a statement of candidacy last week and the organizational paperwork Monday, but has no immediate plans to formally launch a campaign because most voters aren’t paying attention at this early stage. Instead, he is focused on laying the groundwork for the campaign, including fundraising and conducting grassroots 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 freshman 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,” said Meffert. “That’s not something that really reflects this district.”

CQ Politics rates the general election contest Leans Republican.

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