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Republican's Emmer jumps into Minn.'s 6th District race

Tom Emmer, with his wife, Jacquie, at his side, announces his bid for the 6th Congressional District seat before a small crowd of supporters at River Front and Lions Park, Wednesday evening, June 5, 2013 in Delano, Minn. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jeff Wheeler)

DELANO, Minn. - Tom Emmer, the Republican who narrowly lost the last governor's race to Mark Dayton, kicked off his attempt at a political comeback Wednesday as he joined the 2014 race to succeed Michele Bachmann in Congress.

Emmer launched his campaign at a riverfront park in his hometown of Delano. He said in an interview beforehand that his close loss to Democrat Dayton in 2010 taught him to be a better candidate, and said he would seek to follow in Bachmann's footsteps.

"This is a district full of people that want you to stand up for their values, against the ever-growing size of government and on the side of their personal rights and liberties," Emmer said.

Emmer is an attorney, former three-term state representative and talk radio host. He said he'd soon step down from his daily gig on a Twin Cities conservative talk station.

Bachmann's decision last week not to seek re-election set off a scramble among potential Republican opponents in the right-leaning 6th Congressional District. The 6th District includes St. Cloud and surrounding communities, and stretches southeast to northern Twin Cities suburbs.

Also on the GOP side, state Sen. John Pederson of St. Cloud said this week that he's also likely to run. A handful of current and former state and local officials and other Republicans are also mulling the race. They include current state representatives Matt Dean of Dellwood and Tim Sanders of Blaine, former state representative and conservative activist Phil Krinkie, Anoka County commissioners Rhonda Sivarajah and Matt Look, GOP fundraiser and activist Pete Hegseth and political consultant and former Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge.

Emmer said he'd seek the official GOP endorsement and would not run in the primary if he fails to get it.

Democrat Jim Graves, who narrowly lost to Bachmann in 2012, dropped out of the race shortly after she did. No other DFL candidates have emerged.