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Cruze says he was involved with DFL in the 1970s

WILLMAR -- Michael Cruze of Willmar says he is a longtime Democrat, despite rumors to the contrary. Cruze filed earlier this week to run against Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson in the DFL Primary in Senate District 13. Accusations surfaced sh...

WILLMAR -- Michael Cruze of Willmar says he is a longtime Democrat, despite rumors to the contrary.

Cruze filed earlier this week to run against Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson in the DFL Primary in Senate District 13.

Accusations surfaced shortly after news broke of his filing that Cruze was actually a Republican planted to disrupt Johnson's re-election campaign. He said he has never been involved with the Republican Party and challenged anyone who thought otherwise to prove it.

"I am not a Republican, despite what people think," Cruze said Friday afternoon. "I've never even been to a Republican caucus."

People may have the impression because he supported President Bush and had his campaign signs in his yard, Cruze said.

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"I have told people that I'm a Democrat, but I'm having problems with the abortion thing," he said.

While he has always considered himself a Democrat, he hasn't been active with the party since the 1970s. "I've had a busy life," he said.

Cruze did not approach party leaders about his candidacy and did not attend caucuses or an endorsing convention this spring, because he felt "I would have been laughed out of the room."

No group encouraged him to run, and he doesn't have a committee, he said.

"It's just my wife and I that are doing it," he said. "We have a shoestring budget."

The voters "are going to have a choice" in the primary, he said. "I think its time for a change now."

Johnson doesn't represent the values of the district, Cruze said.

"The majority of people were not in favor of a stadium; we got the stadium," he said. "The majority of people were in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, but we didn't get that."

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The Defense of Marriage Act is a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriages and civil unions. The amendment failed in committee in the State Senate this year, and efforts to bring it to the Senate floor in other ways were unsuccessful.

Cruze said property tax reform is also needed.

"I think if (Sen. Johnson) was for us, he would have done something about it," he said. "When I say us, I'm talking about retired people on fixed incomes."

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