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Minnesota: Bonoff Passes on Paulsen Challenge

State Sen. Terri Bonoff is taking a pass on a second run for Congress, leaving two relatively unknown Democrats competing to try to take down freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen.

Bonoff said she remains “interested in the Congressional opportunity— but decided to wait until 2012, after redistricting. Minnesota is likely to lose a House seat after the 2010 Census.

In the meantime, Bonoff said she plans to run for re-election for her state Senate seat.

Bonoff narrowly lost to Iraq War veteran Ashwin Madia for the state Democratic Party’s endorsement for the seat in 2008, and she dropped out before the primary. Paulsen defeated Madia by nearly 8 points in the general election. With Bonoff out, Democrats face an uphill climb to unseat Paulsen in 2010.

The Republican incumbent reported $1.2 million in total receipts for 2009 and started the year with $944,000 in the bank. Neither Democrat Maureen Hackett, a forensic psychiatrist, nor Minnesota PTA President Jim Meffert has raised much cash since joining the race this fall.

Hackett, who declared her candidacy in October, reported $138,000 in receipts for the quarter, but she raised just $35,000; the rest came from her own pockets. Meffert, who entered the race in November, reported $48,000 in receipts in just less than two months.

Hackett had $129,000 in cash on hand as of Dec. 31; Meffert has $33,000.

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