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Davis outlines plan to take on Walz

By Matthew Stolle

mstolle@postbulletin.com

Republicans outlined Saturday how they plan to take back control of government by returning to their conservative roots as they wrapped up their state convention in Rochester.

The staying power of those conservative principles will be tested in the 1st Congressional District, where the party’s endorsed candidate, Brian Davis, is challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Mankato Democrat, on an unabashedly conservative platform.

Davis opposes embryonic stem-cell research, is against civil unions for gay people and believes the country must focus on developing domestic oil reserves, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska.

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He rejects that the globe is warming as a result of human activity.

"Let me be clear: I totally reject the manmade global warming religion," Davis said to loud applause on Saturday.

Davis, a Mayo Clinic physician, must still survive a primary challenge by state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna. Davis has made clear that if he does prevail, he plans to pursue a campaign of sharp contrasts with Walz, whom he calls a liberal in moderate clothing.

He says Walz has done little to bring down gas prices with his opposition to drilling in ANWR. He says the first-term Democrat consistently votes for measures that would expand government and that, according to one ranking, is 394th out of 435th in Congress in terms of taxing and spending.

He also chides Walz for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would make it easier for workers to join unions, but which Davis calls "simply un-American," because it would deprive workers of a secret ballot.

"In 2006, Tim Walz ran against George Bush and the Iraq war. In 2008, he’s going to have to run on his record, and if I were him, I would run from it," Davis said.

Chris Schmitter, a spokesman for Walz, said it was sad and unfortunate that Republicans have to resort to attacks on Walz. He said voters rejected those negative tactics in 2006 and expressed confidence that they would do so this year.

Davis was mixed in among the top speakers at the convention, including Karl Rove, the architect behind President George W. Bush’s two presidential election triumphs, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

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