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Republican military veteran enters 2024 race for US Senate

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with Senate Judiciary Chair Richard J. Durbin at a committee hearing titled “Protecting America’s Children From Gun Violence” in June 2022. Both have signed on to briefs filed Monday in a gun law case now at the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Zuma Press/TNS)
February 03, 2024

Retired Navy commander and business executive Joe Fraser will seek the Republican nomination to challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for her fourth term.

In a news release before his first stop in Duluth on Tuesday, Fraser said the “definition of insanity is maintaining the status quo and hoping for change.” He said Minnesotans’ lives have become worse during Klobuchar’s 18 years in the Senate.

“The price of groceries, gas, and medicine have skyrocketed and the American dream has become harder to reach,” Fraser wrote. “The cost of public education is soaring, yet our school system ranks 16th best in the world.”

Fraser, 50, also planned stops Tuesday in Fargo-Moorhead, Rochester and Mankato. He joins four Republicans listed on the Federal Election Commission website as challengers for Klobuchar, all of whom reported zero fund-raising or money in the bank. Klobuchar reported $4 million in cash at the end of the last reporting period in September.

Klobuchar has easily defeated challengers in her previous Senate races. She won her last contest in 2018 with 60% of the vote against former state Rep. Jim Newberger of Becker.

Her campaign spokesman Ben Hill said Klobuchar is focused on her job in the Senate. “In the last Congress alone, she won her fight to force the drug companies to negotiate lower prices, and she passed a bipartisan bill to make sure veterans exposed to toxic chemicals were no longer denied the health care they deserve” he said.

The campaign also noted that in the last Congress, “Klobuchar distinguished herself as the Senator with the most bipartisan bills, and she ranked third for passing bills into law.”

Fraser’s introductory release outlined his concerns without detailing how he would address them. “We must work to put an end to the crises at our borders, to tackle rising consumer prices and our historic national debt, and to ensure our streets and country are safe from those who wish to cause us harm,” he said.

Fraser said he served in the Navy for almost 26 years and wants to continue his service to Minnesotans. He earned an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University before enlisting. He also has a master’s degree in public administration from Bowie State University and an MBA in defense acquisitions from the Naval Postgraduate School.

After retiring from the Navy, Fraser said he worked in the private sector with small and large businesses as an information technology consultant and chief of staff and COO for a security consulting firm. He said he is an executive director at a major financial institution, which he did not name.

Fraser served as an intelligence specialist and commissioned intelligence officer with operational assignments to Europe, the Far East and the Middle East in support of operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

His bio says he also provided humanitarian aid and assistance to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response. He worked at the Pentagon, in Virginia and Maryland.

He and his wife of 27 years, Rhonda Whitney, also a Navy veteran, live in Minnetrista and have a daughter who is a senior at Mound Westonka High School.


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