With MPR's Conrad Wilson
ST. CLOUD- Pete Hegseth, a former Army Captain, told GOP delegates today that he has the political experience to defeat DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in November.
"It will take more than courage to win this race in November," Hegseth said. "It will take the right candidate."
Hegseth said his experience as executive director of the group Veterans for Freedom will help build a campaign that can defeat the popular incumbent.
"We don't run against Democrats to make a point, we run against Democrats to win and then to govern with Republican principles."
Hegseth said he helped Republicans win federal races when he took over Vets for Freedom which has 95,000 members and raised over $10 million. He also said he'll work to highlight Klobuchar's record.
"Many Minnesotans have a warm and fuzzy feeling about her, but they don't know how she votes," Hegseth said. "Do they know she has a more liberal voting record than DFL Rep. Keith Ellison?"
Hegseth said that he stood up to liberals during his time at Princeton University, as executive director of Veterans for Freedom and while serving in Afghanistan.
"As your candidate for U.S. Senate, I will be the consistent, courageous conservative that you deserve," Hegseth said. "Not because I say so but because I always have been."
Hegseth said one of his biggest priorities will be to reduce the size of the federal deficit.
Referring to the economy, Hegseth said it's not just Democrats that got "us into this mess." He blamed Republicans for talking like conservatives on the campaign trail and then voting like Democrats in Washington.
Here's Hegseth's speech: Listen
Wow, it took him three minutes into a 9-1/2 minute speech to get any applause. It got better towards the end, but still, I was starting to wonder if there was an audio glitch or something.
Klobuchar more liberal than Ellison? "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Reminds me how a decade ago, the GOP candidate in the 7th District claimed Collin Peterson was more liberal than Wellstone. I think he was basing that solely on Peterson's vote against the PATRIOT Act. No word from Hegseth what he's basing his claim on.