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Hibbing special-ed teacher running for governor

HIBBING (AP) — A special education teacher on Wednesday became the latest candidate to jump into the crowded pool of Republican hopefuls for Minnesota governor, saying he would draw on his teaching and union experience to improve the state's economy and education system.

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Rob Farnsworth, of Hibbing, said he intends to seek the GOP endorsement to challenge Democratic incumbent Mark Dayton next year.

Farnsworth, 35, is making his second run for political office. In 2010, he sought the Republican endorsement to run against then-U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, but Chip Cravaack got the nod and went on to upset Oberstar in the general election.

In a news release, Farnsworth likened his candidacy to that of Cravaack, who lost his re-election bid last year. Cravaack belonged to a pilots union before he was elected, and Farnsworth said he too would bring a strong union background to the race, having been a union member for 15 years, the Duluth News Tribune reported ( ).

“I admire what Chip Cravaack was able to do in the 8th (Congressional) District. As a former union member, he was able to bring conservative union members into the Republican coalition, and this propelled him to victory in 2010,” Farnsworth said in a news release.

Farnsworth said he earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of St. Thomas and a master's in special education from Minnesota State, Mankato.

He also noted that he has three children under age 5.

“Under the current leadership, we are going to leave them a state that provides less opportunity than the Minnesota I grew up in. We can truly reform education to teach kids what they will actually use and have them ready for life,” he said.

Farnsworth said he plans to have a booth at the Minnesota State Fair, which opens Thursday.

Businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson and state Rep. Kurt Zellers are among other Republicans running for governor.