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1st District: Gil Gutknecht

Gutknecht let it be known in early 2005 that he was considering a run for the Senate seat occupied by Sen. Mark Dayton. Fellow Republican Mark Kennedy jumped into the race, however, and then scheduled a campaign swing through the 1st District. Gutknecht got the message and decided not to run for higher offce, running for re-election to the House instead.

Though clearly conservative, Gutknecht has quietly shaped a more middle-of-the-road image since first being elected to Congress in 1994. The National Journal rating on conservative economic issues dropped from 66 percent in 2001 to 57% in 2002. On foreign policy, it dropped from 82 percent conservative to 55 percent.

Gutknecht was one of the early supporters of the reimportation of prescription drugs, which put him at odds with the Bush White House. In his 1st District, DFLers made significant inroads in legislative races in the 2004 election, but nobody has come close to defeating Gutknecht. Gil Gutknecht was elected to the U.S. House in 1994 with 55 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat John Hottinger. He was re-elected in 1996 with 53 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Mary Rieder. In 1998, Gutknecht was re-elected defeating Democrat Tracy Beckman with 55 percent of the vote. Facing Rieder again, he was re-elected in 2000 with 56 percent of the vote. In 2002, Gutknecht easily defeated DFL Steve Andreasen by a 61-to-35% margin. He was unopposed in the primary. In 2004, Gutknecht again enjoyed an easy win over DFLer Leigh Pomeroy by a 60-to-35 percent margin.

According to Project Vote Smart, Gutknecht received these scores from special interest groups in 2005: NARAL (0%), National Association of Wheat Growers (80%), Humane Society (17%), National Taxpayers Union (66%), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (81%), NAACP (35%), National Education Association (25%), Family Research Council (100%), NOW (50%), Gun Owners of America (50%), American Public Health Association (25%). According to the National Journal Representative Gutknecht voted more liberal on economic, defense and foreign policy issues than 37 percent of the representatives. He voted more conservative on economic, defense and foreign policy issues than 63 percent of the representatives.

Candidate Bio

Rep. Gil Gutknecht
Political affiliation:
Republican Party
March 20, 1951
Cedar Falls, IA.
Married (Mary), three children. Catholic. Resides in Rochester.
U.S. Representative. Was sales rep. for Latta School Supply, 1973-82. Worked as real estate auctioneer, 1979-94.
BA University of Northern Iowa, 1973
Major political experience:
Elected congressman, 1994. Minnesota House of Representatives (Rep for District 30A), 1983-95; Floor leader, Minnesota House Republican Caucus, 1992-95.

On the Issues

Audio Immigration (12/13/05)
Audio Tax cuts (12/13/05)

Campaign contribution profile

Total receipts
Total disbursements
Cash on hand
Source: Federal Elections Commission
October 2006

Resources and Links

Web site:

Candidate Pages

In one of the state's biggest election upsets, Minnesota's 1st Congressional District has gone democratic. First-time candidate Tim Walz won the race with 53 percent of the vote, defeating Republican six-term incumbent Gil Gutknecht. (11/08/2006)
The race between U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., and his DFL challenger Tim Walz has been attracting national attention and money. Gutknecht and Walz sparred in a recent debate. (Midday, 10/31/2006)
The race for Congress in Minnesota's 1st District has become competitive with a political newcomer running as a DFLer posing a serious challenger to six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht. (10/25/2006)
GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht offered an optimistic message about America's direction. Democratic challenger Tim Walz spoke of an America that's desperate for change. (10/19/2006)
Minnesota's 1st Congressional District race has heated up. In a part of the state that has voted Republican for years, a Democratic challenger may have a chance. (10/04/2006)
U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht will keep his place on the Sept. 12 primary election ballot after the state Supreme Court swiftly turned back a challenge to the petitions he used to qualify. (08/22/2006)
Republican Gil Gutknecht is running for re-election in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, long considered the most conservative in the state. But Democrats say that may be changing, and predict Gutknecht will be vulnerable this time around. (07/07/2006)
U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht said Friday he would run for re-election to the House, ending the possibility of a primary fight between two Republican congressmen for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton. (03/04/2005)