Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is moving up the rankings for presidential potentials, but first she faces Republican challenger State Rep. Jim Newberger. The first woman elected to the Senate from the state has increased her national profile after the former prosecutor memorably questioned Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which led to her portrayal on Saturday Night Live. We caught up with Klobuchar on a Sunday afternoon as she revved up activists preparing to door knock.

As the daughter of a well-known journalist, Klobuchar is careful to deny any current interest in running for president in 2020. She says she’s simply focused on this 2018 election, helping Democrats win in Minnesota and across the country as a check on President Donald Trump. For our report, we unearthed a vintage clip of her father, Jim Klobuchar, with sports broadcasting legend Howard Cosell from a program on Twin Cities Public Television.

Republican Jim Newberger is giving up a very safe seat in the Legislature from Becker to run against the popular incumbent. Klobuchar has been ahead by as much as 30 points in the polls, but one survey had the race narrowed to single digits, although the latest Star Tribune/MPR poll has the Democrat up by 23 points. Newberger’s supporters gathered in a local cafe, several showing their support of President Trump with a “Make America Great Again” hat and T-shirt saying “Women for Trump.”

The economy is humming, and the Republican says that helps him and the President, who isn’t on the ballot in November. Signs linking Newberger to Trump are spreading out across the state; we’ve especially seen them in rural districts in our travels, and Newberger says he’s running out of them. The candidate spent 30 years as a paramedic and recently retired as he launched his run for statewide office.

      Mary Lahammer
      Anchor, Reporter, Producer covering politics, government, history, food for Twin Cities PBS since 1998.