Last-minute challengers file to run against Poppe, SparksPublished 10:01am Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Two Republican candidates filed Tuesday to challenge local legislators Rep. Jeanne Poppe and Sen. Dan Sparks, both DFL-Austin, as the incumbents run for re-election.
“I’m just getting tired of the liberal agenda building government and taking freedoms away from the general public,” said Austin resident Nathan Neitzell, who will run against Poppe for the House’s District 27B seat. The other candidate to file Tuesday, Linden Anderson of Waltham, will challenge Sparks for Senate District 27.
For most of the filing period, a two-week stretch that ended at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Poppe and Sparks looked to be running unopposed. Mower County GOP Chair Dennis Schminke expressed doubt late last month that any Republican candidates would file.
“We have not been successful in finding someone who wants to take that on,” Schminke said.
The outlook for the GOP changed Tuesday when Neitzell and Anderson filed.
“It came down to the fact that there was a lack of another candidate,” Neitzell said.
Running for the Legislature was something he had always considered, but “never pulled the trigger” on, he added. He has no previous experience in government work.
Neitzell, who was born in Albert Lea but lived in Austin the majority of his life, is self-employed. He owns real estate and a few small businesses, and is part owner of a sign company that, among other products, makes political yard signs. As a businessman, he said he was against high taxes.
“It’s very obvious to me that that’s not how you make growth,” he said. “It makes trying to run your own business unattractive.”
Neitzell boiled down his political stance to a focus on stronger local government.
“My main thing is I want less federal government telling states what to do, and I want less states telling counties what to do,” he said.
Neitzell said it’s still early in the game and he plans to flesh out his goals more as time goes on. Some of his ideas will likely come from voters, he said.
“I do want to be someone who listens,” he said.
If the consensus of the county suggests they want one thing, Neitzell said, he would go with it even if it went against his personal views. Legislators shouldn’t push through bills without listening to voters, he said.
Anderson could not immediately be reached for comment.