Ellison's rival faces uphill battle

What does it take to win in MN Congressional District 5?

MINNEAPOLIS -- Frank Drake spent a Labor Day at the State Fair taking part in an age old ritual for candidates, greeting voters.

"I’m the Drake for Congress, not Drake the rapper," the Minneapolis Republican quipped as he introduced himself to a group of younger voters in front of the Minnesota GOP booth.

After 32 years as a realtor Drake is accustomed to making conversations with strangers. But politics in a brand new game for him, and he's taking on one of the toughest challenges imaginable.

He's trying to unseat five-term incumbent Democrat Keith Ellison in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, a place that hasn't sent a Republican to Congress since 1960 when Walter Judd won his tenth term.

"I’ve been blessed with tremendous opportunities, but the same opportunities I’ve been blessed with future generations I feel will not receive," Drake told KARE. "And that’s why I’m running."

He concedes history is not on his side. Ellison has held his Republican opponents to under 30 percent of the vote in each of his first five elections.

And raising money won't be easy. The National Republican Congressional Committee is focused more on capturing open seats in swing districts. But he remains optimistic.

"This will be the greatest political upset in US history!" Drake declared. "It’s all about name awareness and recognition, and the congressman is doing everything in his power to ignore me."

So far the Ellison campaign hasn't agreed to a debate with Drake.

The southwest Minneapolis native says he's making inroads in the more diverse, and less affluent north Minneapolis, because some voters are convinced they haven't made progress after 54 years of  Democratic representation.

"The income disparities, the crushing debt its like a form of modern day slavery, and people in north Minneapolis have been abandoned by our government," Drake said.

"And if you look at Trump -- whether you like him or not -- he said, 'What the hell do you have to lose'?"

Drake says he'd like to see credit reporting reform, so that people aren't penalized so harshly for disagreements over cable and cell phone bills. He also favors creating state ID cards for all immigrants, whether or not they're in the country with permission.

"We need to identify these people so they can come out of the shadows, and freely travel across the United States," Drake explained.

But at the time he also says he opposes "sanctuary cities," areas such as Minneapolis where local police don't routinely report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities if they haven't committed a local crime.

On the international front, Drake says he oppose US intervention in civil wars in the Middle East. He argued the Arab Spring revolts the US supported have backfired.

"These countries were beautiful countries and now they’re war torn," he asserted. "And we've got the refugees come to our country and Europe."

Drake pledged to serve only two terms if he's elected.

"I’m an honest man. I’ve raised my family here in the Twin Cities," he said. "My family goes back five generations in this city."

(© 2016 KARE)


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