Two more Republicans have joined the 2020 race for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Scott County and is represented by Democrat Angie Craig. 

Tyler Kistner, a reserve officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and new Prior Lake resident, joined the race this month and said Wednesday he wants to bring a servant-leader and limited-government perspective to Congress.

Kerry Zeiler has also filed for the seat with the Federal Election Commission. His website describes him as a small businessman and attorney, though he doesn't appear in the Minnesota Attorney Registration System. He didn't respond to messages requesting comment this week to his website and campaign Facebook page. 

The pair join Rick Olson, a Prior Lake Rotary Club member and former Michigan state legislator, who announced his run for the Republican candidacy in September. Primary voters in August will choose which represents the party against Craig, who has said she plans to run for a second term.

Kistner, 32, said he graduated from Champlin Park High School in Brooklyn Park and the University of Minnesota before joining the Marine Corps and its special operations regiment for almost a decade.

He shifted to a reserve position last year and moved to Prior Lake from Camp Lejeune a couple of months ago with his wife and young daughter. 

Kistner said his time working for the Corps' Central Command and deployments around the world dealing with counter-terrorism and other foreign adversaries gave him experience with congressional and legislative issues.

Few members of Congress struck him as genuinely serving the public, he said, so he decided to run.

His primary goal is to limit federal government overreach; he opposes federal education standards, for example, and said states should have more power over how to spend federal money on roads and other infrastructure. 

"Each state has their own priorities and interests," Kistner said. "States know what they need."

He said he agrees with most of President Donald Trump's policies, including trade, foreign policy, growing military budgets and other areas, though he described himself as more fiscally conservative. 

Kistner opposes a bigger government role in health care and supports policies allowing private coverage across state lines, foreign pharmaceutical competition and more health care price transparency to push down costs. He also supports the 2017 tax cuts.

Craig, who lives in Eagan, during her first term has pushed to lower insulin and other prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and has proposed a public option of health coverage to compete with private plans.

Kistner criticized Trump's impeachment for seeking Ukrainian investigations into potential presidential candidate Joe Biden, an impeachment Craig voted for, as wasting money and taking time from more important issues. 

Olson last month broke with many Republicans by announcing he also supported impeachment. Trump and others have said the president did nothing wrong and was fighting corruption. 

As for Zeiler, his website provides limited biographical information; his filing includes an Eagan address. 

The website states Zeiler would bring pragmatism instead of a win-at-all-costs perspective. He favors licensing news outlets to limit misinformation, supports limiting abortion and disagrees with renewable energy mandates and a bigger government role in health care. 

Craig defeated former representative Jason Lewis in 2018 with 53% of the vote after losing to him in 2016.

Community editor

Dan Holtmeyer is the community editor for the Prior Lake and Savage papers. He grew up in Nebraska and worked as a journalist in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas before coming to Minnesota in 2018.

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