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Mikkelson preaches less government

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ST. PAUL -- Greg Mikkelson's name appears on the ballot for the fourth time on Nov. 4, but he cannot predict his chances.

"I am not sure America is ready for my leadership style," said the Independence Party candidate for southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

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That style is based on Mikkelson's belief that government interferes too much with Americans' lives.

"There is not a (government) pill for every ill," said Mikkelson, facing well-financed Democratic incumbent Tim Walz and Republican challenger Brian Davis.

In his fourth run for the district that spans southern Minnesota, Mikkelson is with the Independence Party for the second time. In his first campaign, in 2002, he was a Green Party member. Two years ago, he ran on the Republican ticket.

Pro-Walz blogger Sally Sorensen of Hutchinson wrote that Mikkelson "has been both all over the political map -- and nowhere as well -- since 2002."

To Mikkelson, the key issue is the ballooning national debt, which he said means his children and grandchildren will end up paying far too big a tax bill.

"I have got two children and I am very concerned about their future," he said. "The government keeps driving us deeper and deeper in debt."

Mikkelson's solution is to chop federal spending. If that is not enough, he said, federal officials need to draw up a comprehensive plan "where you separate your needs and your wants." If the plan needs more funding, he added, user fees and taxes could need to rise.

A supporter of rebel GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, Mikkelson said he is not happy with the current political system. "It is really foolish to be spending $1 million on a job that pays less than $200,000," he said about the congressional job paying $169,300 a year.

The candidate said he can win 15 percent to 25 percent of the vote "pretty easily" and if he gets enough free publicity, especially from debates, he could top that.

"Winning isn't necessarily going to Washington," Mikkelson said. "Winning is making some changes."

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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