Angie Craig and Tyler Kistner

Angie Craig and Tyler Kistner

Tyler Kistner, a Republican candidate for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, was officially named a “National Republican Congressional Committee Young Gun” Wednesday by U.S. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy.

That means both he and DFL Congresswoman Angie Craig have been targeted by their respective parties as top election priorities in next fall’s campaigns. Craig, then a first-term incumbent, beat Kistner by 2 percentage points in the 2020 election, making it the fifth-closest U.S. House race in the nation.

“This announcement solidifies our race as a top target for Republicans across the country as we work to flip this seat and retire Nancy Pelosi as speaker,” Kistner said in a news release.

The 2nd District is widely considered Minnesota’s most competitive congressional district. This week both The Cook Political Report and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the Craig-Kistner race a toss-up, while Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales said it tilts Democratic.

The district takes in a band of suburbs south of the Twin Cities, including Dakota and Scott counties, plus portions of southern Washington and northwestern Rice counties. The redistricting map issued last month by a special five-judge panel added all of rural LeSueur County to the 2nd and shifted Goodhue and Wabasha counties out of the 2nd and into the rural 1st District.

Before running for Congress, Kistner spent 12 years in the Marine Corps. He and his wife, Marie, live in Prior Lake with their daughter Elodie and son Gabriel.

Craig is a retired newspaper reporter and former medical technology executive who was first elected in 2018 by ousting Republican Rep. Jason Lewis in a rematch of their 2016 race. She lives in Eagan. She and her wife, Cheryl Greene, have four adult sons.