Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2006, 4th term.

Born: April 6, 1964, West Point, NE

Home: Mankato

Education: Chadron St. Col., B.S. 1989, MN St. U., M.S. 2001

Professional Career: Teacher, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD, 1984; Teacher, People’s Republic of China, 1989-90; Founder, Educational Travel Adventures, 1991-2006; High school teacher, 1989-2006.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Lutheran

Family: married (Gwen) , 2 children

Tim Walz, a Democrat first elected in 2006, has entrenched himself in his rural district by balancing strong support for farmers, military veterans and gun owners with a commitment to the main economic planks of his party’s agenda.

Walz grew up in Nebraska and joined the Army National Guard when he was 17. When he retired from the military 24 years later, in 2005, he held the rank of command sergeant major. Walz earned his teaching degree in Nebraska, taught school in China for a year through a Harvard University program, and later established an educational travel company that helped high school students study in China. He and his wife moved to Minnesota in 1996 to take teaching jobs in Mankato. There, he taught high school geography and coached the high school football team to two state championships.

Walz got into politics relatively late in life—he was 42 when he ran for Congress. In 2004, President George W. Bush made an appearance in the area as part of his reelection campaign. Walz took two students to the event, where Bush campaign staffers demanded to know whether he supported the president and barred the students from entering after discovering one had a sticker for Democratic candidate John Kerry. Walz suggested that it might be bad PR for the Bush campaign to arrest an Army veteran, and he and the students were allowed in. Walz said the experience sparked his interest in politics, first as a volunteer for the Kerry campaign and then as a congressional candidate. “I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it an epiphany, but it was definitely one of those things that pushed me into” politics, Walz said.

In 2006, Walz challenged six-term Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht, an affable conservative who won reelection two years earlier with 60%. The district had sent Republicans to Washington for 100 of the previous 114 years, and Gutknecht was not considered especially vulnerable. Walz was not a polished campaigner. His speaking style was didactic compared to the ease with which Gutknecht, a former auctioneer, handled a crowd. But he struck a chord with his message of declining middle-class wages, tax cuts for the wealthy and Congress’ failure to hold Bush accountable on the Iraq war. He ran as a political outsider and painted Gutknecht as too closely tied to Bush.

By October, Republicans began to take the threat against Gutknecht seriously. The incumbent sought to halt his slide by characterizing Walz as a liberal who was out of sync with a socially conservative district. Walz supported abortion rights and opposed a ban on same-sex marriage, but his military experience and football coaching gave an aura of authenticity to his campaign that made him harder to attack. On Election Day, Walz defeated Gutknecht 53%-47%. Walz carried Democratic areas around Mankato and Austin and won Rochester’s Olmsted County by more than 1,800 votes (52%-48%). He became the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.

In the House, Walz has established a mostly centrist voting record, though he has become more supportive of his party’s agenda since it lost the majority in 2011. He was one of just 17 Democrats to vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly withholding information relating to the “Fast and Furious” gun-tracing operation, and he opposed the creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to assist the financial services industry because he said it didn’t do enough to protect homeowners from foreclosure. His championing of gun owners’ rights earned him the National Rifle Association’s endorsement in 2010 and 2012. But he has backed most of President Barack Obama’s major initiatives, including health care reform and the 2009 cap-and-trade bill to reduce carbon emissions. In calling for more domestic renewable energy to replace oil imports from countries hostile to the United States, Walz likes to say, “We export $1 billion a day to countries who hate us. They’ll hate us for free.”

Walz has introduced a number of good-government bills. He scored his highest-profile legislative victory in February 2012, when the House passed a version of his bill barring the use of inside information by lawmakers to make financial trades and requiring members to disclose their investments. The measure, which later became law, had languished for five years, but picked up momentum after it was featured in a 60 Minutes story. That year, another of Walz’s bills, which he cosponsored with Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., also became law. It sought to make it easier for veterans to find jobs using skills acquired through military training. Walz has worked on other veterans issues, including suicide prevention and improving the treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

With a seat on the Agriculture Committee, Walz secured increased access to credit and conservation opportunities for farmers in the 2008 farm bill. His district had been among the leading recipients of federal largesse through the farm program. In the debate over the 2012 farm bill, he urged House Republicans to take up the committee-passed version instead of seeking a better bill. “Perfect is what you get in heaven,” he said in October 2012. “The U.S. House of Representatives is closer to hell.”

Walz was initially a top target for Republicans in the 2008 election. But the party’s preferred contenders decided not to run. He breezed to a 63%-33% victory. Two years later, he faced a much tougher race. His Republican opponent was state Rep. Randy Demmer, a farmer who slammed Walz’s support of the Democratic agenda and drew financial help from outside Republican groups. But Walz enjoyed a huge financial advantage, thanks in part to money raised from Mayo Clinic employees. He also highlighted a video of his opponent seeming receptive to the idea of partially privatizing Social Security. Demmer denied the charge, but had trouble persuading voters that Walz was too liberal. Walz won 49%-44%, with two other candidates drawing the remaining votes.

Walz’s reelection 2012 was far easier. His Republican opponent was former state Rep. Allen Quist, who didn’t help himself when he told an audience that radical liberals were a bigger threat to the country than terrorism. Walz won with 58% of the vote. In 2013, he took over as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s program to protect vulnerable incumbents.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2472

(202) 225-3433

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1034
Washington, DC 20515-2301

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2472

(202) 225-3433

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1034
Washington, DC 20515-2301

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 388-2149

(507) 388-6181

527-½ South Front Street
Mankato, MN 56001

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 388-2149

(507) 388-6181

527-½ South Front Street
Mankato, MN 56001

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 388-2149

(507) 206-0650

1202-½ Seventh Street, NW Suite 211
Rochester, MN 55901

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 388-2149

(507) 206-0650

1202-½ Seventh Street, NW Suite 211
Rochester, MN 55901

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(507) 388-5382

(507) 388-1956

PO Box 938
Mankato, MN 56002

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 938
Mankato, MN 56002

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Agriculture

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Animal Rights

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Appropriations

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Imani Augustus
Staff Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Arts

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Commerce

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Disability

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Disaster

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Education

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Energy

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Environment

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Finance

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Govt Ops

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Gun Issues

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Health

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Homeland Security

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Housing

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Judiciary

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Land Use

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Medicare

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Military

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Robert Hawkins
Defense Fellow

National Security

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Native Americans

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Recreation

Randolph Briley
Senior Legislative Counsel

Religion

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Science

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Seniors

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Social Security

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Tax

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Alyssa Berg
Scheduler

Telecommunications

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Imani Augustus
Staff Assistant

Trade

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Transportation

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Tim Bertocci
Legislative Director

Shawn Schloesser
Veterans Field Representative

Welfare

Aly Lubov
Legislative Assistant

aly.lubov@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2472

Women

Samantha Dercher
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Tim Walz
Votes: 193,211
Percent: 57.61%
Allen Quist
Votes: 142,164
Percent: 42.39%
2012 PRIMARY
Tim Walz
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Tim Walz
Votes: 122,365
Percent: 49.34%
Randy Demmer
Votes: 109,242
Percent: 44.05%
Steven Wilson
Votes: 13,242
Percent: 5.34%
2010 PRIMARY
Tim Walz
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Tim Walz
Votes: 207,753
Percent: 62.5%
Brian Davis
Votes: 109,453
Percent: 32.93%
2008 PRIMARY
Tim Walz
Votes: 20,998
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (49%), 2008 (63%), 2006 (53%)

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