Two Republican women challenging Craig in Minnesota's 2nd District
ST. PAUL — Two Republican women have announced they’re mounting challenges to U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat, for Minnesota’s 2nd District.
Former state lawmaker Regina Barr and Air Force veteran Erica Cashin both announced their intentions Wednesday, Jan. 15, to challenge Craig, a first-term incumbent in the district that includes a number of southern suburbs.
Barr and Cashin join Marine veteran Tyler Kistner and former Michigan state lawmaker Rick Olson in what is shaping up to be a four-way race for the GOP nomination in the swing district.
The entrances of Barr and Cashin were expected to capture the attention of Republican insiders, who are eager to try to retake the district, which was held by Republican Jason Lewis, who defeated Craig in 2016, when President Donald Trump carried the district, but lost to Craig in a 2018 rematch. Lewis is challenging U.S. Sen. Tina Smith.
Both women describe themselves as pro-life and pro-Second Amendment and said they would have voted against the House articles of impeachment against Trump that Craig voted for, and both said they believe the impeachment process is a distraction from other issues, such as health care. Both candidates said they would abide by the Republican party’s endorsement, which will be determined in April.
Barr, who lives in Inver Grove Heights, served one term in Minnesota House, narrowly winning an open seat in 2016 to become the first Republican to represent House District 52B in modern history. In an interview, she cited her experience in the Legislature as making her uniquely qualified as “the only one with a proven track record of representing the bluest part of the district.”
In 2018, she was defeated by state Rep. Ruth Richardson, a Democrat, by nearly 7 percentage points. Barr said she doesn’t see that as a knock against her. In 2018, she said, Democrats were motivated to turn out, while Republicans weren’t. That will change, she said, this fall with Trump’s name on the ballot.
Barr owns a small consulting business and said she decided to challenge Craig after being encouraged by others in the party. She has been married to her husband, Kevin, an engineer, for 24 years.
Cashin grew up in Duluth and traveled around the country and abroad with her husband of 28 years, John, a Navy diver, as they both served in the military. After 24 years in the Air Force, Cashin completed what she described in an interview as her “transition to a corporate role,” working in human resources at Comcast NBC, until resigning recently to focus on the campaign. She holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
She cited her “life experience” in the military, as a military spouse, and as a mother of two children as chief qualifications. Cashin has never run for elected office before and said she decided to because “I want to take my shot at trying to fix things.”
In addition to addressing the rising cost of health care, Cashin said she wants to explore making some federal agency budgets, including that of the Department of Defense, on multi