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Heintzeman to challenge Ward

Crow Wing County Republican Chair Josh Heintzeman Friday filed to run for the House District 10A against Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter.

Heintzeman, 36, said in a statement: “John Ward and one party rule in St. Paul have put Minnesota back on a reckless tax and spend path that will hurt our local economy and risks the future of our children.

The party chair criticized several bills and programs Ward has supported, including $2.1 billion in new taxes; a bill allowing the unionization of child care workers; the anti-bullying legislation, which he termed an unfunded mandate that specifically creates groups of kids that are protected; and MNsure.

Heintzeman also criticized the money the state spent promoting MNsure.

“I think if it was something the people of Minnesota wanted it probably wouldn’t need to promote it,” Heintzeman said.

He declined to say whether he would have preferred the state not enact MNsure and instead participate in the federal health program.

“I think that program is in trouble and the future of the program is unsure. I think I would keep my statement as is,” he said.

Describing himself as adamantly pro-life, Heintzeman said he was very pleased with the way Ward has represented the district on that issue.

“I don’t believe the state should be funding elective abortions,” he said.

He declined to elaborate if there were any conditions when he thought abortion should be permissible.

In his statement, Heintzeman charged that Ward has, “abandoned us here in Crow Wing County and followed the party line dominated by metro DFL interests.”

The Nisswa man said he was fiscally conservative and would look for ways to reduce the size and scope of government and make it more efficient.

“If elected, I would stand for the strength and value of traditional marriage,” he said.

He declined to state whether he would work to overturn the law that legalized gay marriage.

The new candidate said he believes in protecting the Second Amendment.

Heintzeman and his wife, Keri, own Upcountry Log, which makes log accents such as signs, columns and trusses. They have been married 14 years and are the parents of five children ranging in age from 1 to 12.

He previously served on the Crow Wing County Human Rights Commission and was appointed as a manager of the Thirty Lakes Watershed Board in the spring of 2013.

Heintzeman said he has met with people on a possible legislative bid — his first run for public office — for about two months.

“People are probably tired of year-round campaigning,” he said.

Republicans endorsed a candidate for House District 10B in March. Filings for legislative seats close June 3.

Heintzeman will seek the endorsement of the Republican Party at an endorsing convention that will be scheduled for next month.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860