By Josh Moniz
ROCHESTER - Rochester cardiologist Scott Wright, a long-time Republican activist, is strongly considering a run to challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Walz for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District in 2014.
Wright works in the Mayo Clinic Division of Cardiology and is involved with medical research, such as seeking therapies to prevent heart attacks. He earned his degree at the University of Kentucky and has been practicing medicine for more than two decades. He also served on the Minnesota Health Care Transformation Task Force under Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
He previously ran as a Republican for the former Minnesota Senate District 30 in 2006. He also has been very active in Republican politics since that time, previously serving as former Minnesota State GOP Executive Committee member for three years. Most recently, he hosted U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's fundraiser last year for 1st District candidate Allen Quist in his house. He said he offered to also host a fundraiser for former Sen. Mike Parry, who was running against Quist in the primary at that time, but was turned down.
Wright said that despite his frequent work with partisan politics, he is much more moderate on policy issues than people would expect. He said his background with medicine has made him more interested in the impact and facts of legislation than scoring partisan points.
He said he's leaning towards a run due to his concerns with the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare. He said the law will have a big impact on his field, and that more medical professionals need to help shape how it is implemented.
The current field of potential Republican candidates has risen to six with Wright's comments. So far, only Rep. Mike Benson of Rochester has officially declared his campaign. The other potential candidates are Aaron Miller of Byron, former 1st District endorsement candidate Jim Hagedorn, former Sen. Al DeKruif and former Sen. Mike Parry, who ran in the 1st District Republican primary last year.
Wright said he hopes to make his decision on whether he will run in a matter of days.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.