May 23, 2005
St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) Coleen Rowley is considering a race for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, the former FBI whistle-blower told The Associated Press Monday.
Rowley, 50, would run as a Democrat in the seat currently held by GOP Rep. John Kline. Kline's 2004 opponent, Teresa Daly, said she has not made a decision on whether to run again.
Rowley, who retired from the FBI last year, said she's spoken to people to get their input, both inside and outside of politics, but has been put off by some suggestions that she get a "makeover."
"I've butted heads with a few people - anyone who tells me I have to spruce up my hair and buy a new wardrobe," Rowley said, declining to identify the source of this unwanted advice. "I haven't worn makeup since I was 21. You have to be authentic and genuine in serving the populace."
Rowley was named one of Time magazine's Persons of the Year for 2002 after she criticized the agency for ignoring her pleas in the weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, to investigate terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui more aggressively. He was the only person charged in the United States in the attacks.
Rowley said she hopes to make a decision on a congressional race by early next month. In 2003, DFL activists encouraged her to run against Kline, but she declined. One reason was she would have had to quit the FBI a year before she could receive her pension.
Rowley said she would run as an "independent-minded Democrat," focusing on issues such as international security and civil liberties.
"I'm very concerned about the direction we're going in with civil liberties, the secrecy, the use of alerts to manipulate public opinion," Rowley said.
On terrorism, Rowley said, "We've not done anything from the 9/11 Commission on root causes, and we never followed through with infrastructure and economic assistance to Afghanistan."
Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, said that Rowley would have to overcome a GOP-leaning district.
"She's going to have to run as a conservative or moderate Democrat to have a chance," he said.
The Kline campaign said in a statement that it was too early to speculate about the race, and that Kline is focusing on congressional business.