Pete Hegseth visits Little Falls as he seeks GOP endorsement for U.S. senate

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
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Becky Olson, left, greeted Pete Hegseth Tuesday at the Pizza Ranch in Little Falls. Hegseth will seek the Republican endorsement to run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Pete Hegseth is getting a late start in his bid to get the Republican endorsement to run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

He returned from a deployment in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard in February, and was encouraged to run for U.S. Senate.

“I sat down with my wife, we prayed and talked about it,” he said when visiting Little Falls Tuesday, meeting people before the GOP endorsing convention Saturday, May 5.

He and his wife, Samantha, have a 22-month-old son, and a child on the way. They make their home in Stillwater.

When the decision was made, he jumped into the race March 1. The 31-year-old has been working to meet people and get his name out across the state ever since.

Hegseth’s tour in Afghanistan was his third tour of duty as an Army infantry officer. He is a decorated veteran having served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a fourth-generation Minnesotan, raised in Forest Lake.

He is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard and describes himself as a social conservative.

He worked to build Vets For Freedom, an organization that in 2010 helped veterans get elected to Congress.

He said he was in the race because, “I believe in this country.” Hegseth said he fought for it on the battlefield and will now fight for it at home.

Describing himself as a social conservative, Hegseth said he believes the election will center on jobs, the economy, the debt and deficit and stands for a future with limited government and a return to the Constitution.

As for national security, he said, “I believe peace comes through strength.”

“If we don’t stand up and fight for it (the country), someone else, probably on the East Coast, has an idea what it should look like,” he said.

The Republican endorsing convention for Senate District 9, which includes Morrison County, will be held in Staples Saturday, May 5, at the Town’s Edge Restaurant in Staples, from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Also seeking endorsement for the U.S. Senate seat are Mora native and Navy veteran Dan “Doc” Severson, a four-term legislator in the House of Representatives, and  Kurt Bills, a first-timer in the Minnesota Legislature, who is an advanced placement economics teacher at Rosemount High School and a small business owner.