Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota State Capitol.

A longtime Republican incumbent and Democratic newcomers are campaigning to win the Minnesota Senate District 56 seat in 2020.

The district represents residents in Savage, Burnsville and Lakeville.

Republican Sen. Dan Hall, first elected in 2010, this week said he will seek re-election in 2020 and will formally announce his campaign in January. He won election in 2016 with 55% of the vote.

Burnsville resident and Democrat Robert Timmerman said he left his job at the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s office last month to focus on his campaign against Hall. Lindsey Port, who ran for state representative in 2016, said she’s also considering a run; her announcement could come next week.

Hall said Republicans have done a good job stabilizing things as Democratic lawmakers try to pull Minnesotans towards bigger government and more taxes.

“We are trying to keep government from bloating and controlling our lives more,” he said.

The 2018 midterm flipped both House seats in the district to Democratic lawmakers, but Hall said he think the pendulum is swinging back.

“Last year, many people said we are sure glad the Senate is Republican,” he said. “Our area is pretty conservative, and I’m excited to get back in for another couple years.”

Hall will be the lone incumbent in the district since Rep. Hunter Cantrell of District 56A and Rep. Alice Mann of District 56B, both Democrats, announced they won’t seek re-election after their freshman terms in office.

Timmerman and Port both spoke at the Democratic party’s Senate District 56 meeting Monday and said they would focus on health care and other issues.

“We are at a turning point in Minnesota, and there is no greater opportunity than right now for us to win back the Senate,” Timmerman said.

More access to early childhood education, affordable college and trade school, eliminating waste and fraud in the health care system and protection of the environment are among his top priorities, he said.

Timmerman spent much of his career auditing private insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers. He said his experience from that nonpartisan work will help him make drug prices lower and more transparent.

Port is a mother of two and executive director of the nonprofit Blueprint Campaigns, which aims to help leaders of underrepresented communities in and around Minnesota, according to its website. She said her family deals with many of the everyday issues Minnesotans face.

“We need to make choices about what is most important to us, and that means gun reform, that means fully funding our education, that means health care for everyone, and that means job support for everyone,” she said.

She said she’d focus on health care for all on her first day in office if elected.

Port lost the race for representative of District 56B to Republican Rep. Roz Peterson in 2016 despite the district’s swing to Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for President.

“I ran a really hard campaign in 2016, and we are just picking up where we left off,” she said.

Only one candidate from a particular party goes into the general election next November after winning the party primary.

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