DFL hopeful Richard Kelly vies to unseat Rep. Tom Emmer
St. Cloud Times - 4/7/2018
April 06--Richard Kelly has experienced the inside and the outside of the mental health system in Central Minnesota. Now Kelly is running for the Sixth Congressional District seat to try and reform that system.
Kelly is an adult foster care provider, and last year he spent 72 hours in a psychiatric unit in St. Cloud where he was evaluated for a mental health commitment and then released. He felt wronged and shared his story with the St. Cloud Times.
The St. Cloud native and DFL candidate announced his bid for Congress last weekend. Republican Rep. Tom Emmer has held the seat since 2015. The reliably red region previously sent conservative firebrand Michele Bachmann to Washington.
"This is not a throw-away district," Kelly said. "I am running. I have a cause. I'm an expert in it. And I can win."
Before Kelly can face the Republican incumbent, he's up against millennial Air Force veteran Ian Todd who's been campaigning for months. DFL delegates will choose between the two at an endorsing convention April 21.
RELATED: 72 hours in the psych unit and the aftermath
Kelly said he'll support the DFL Party no matter what happens, but he may continue his campaign, even if the delegates pick Todd.
Todd, an Arkansas native, welcomes the competition.
"It makes April 21 a more interesting day," he said.
RELATED: Progressive, millennial vet wants to rep St. Cloud in D.C.
Todd's campaign has raised $12,000 this first quarter of the year and recruited 70 volunteers, he said. He's held 11 town hall meetings and scheduled more.
"We feel very confident," he said of the endorsement.
The DFL process will work itself out before the general election ramps up, said David FitzSimmons, general consultant for Emmer for Congress.
RELATED: Emmer will run to keep repping the 6th District
Kelly is eager to reform the health care system. He's a supporter of the Affordable Care Act and wants to see more resources and respect for those who work in mental health positions like his.
"I represent the district," Kelly said. "I'm from here, a fifth-generation farm."
The general election will take place Nov. 6. The ballot will contain choices for two U.S. Senate seats, Minnesota governor, the state House, county positions and other offices.
Nora G. Hertel: 320-255-8746 and on Twitter @nghertel.
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