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Fifteen more Minnesotans have registered campaign committees with the state to run for the state Legislature this year -- and one has dropped out of a House race in the east metro.

15 more legislative hopefuls throw their hats in the ring

Fifteen more Minnesotans have registered campaign committees with the state to run for the state Legislature this year — and one has dropped out of a House race in the east metro.

David Francis, a retired Navy captain and businessman from Stillwater who registered in January with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to challenge incumbent Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, dissolved his campaign committee this week.

Francis, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, for the state Senate in 2006, told the Pioneer Press that he isn’t “mentally prepared” to challenge Dean because he is still “burdened by grief, sadness and anger” over the loss of his son, Jon, who disappeared while climbing in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains in 2006.

Francis and his family founded the nonprofit Jon Francis Foundation, which supports other families whose loved ones have disappeared and promotes wilderness safety training.

Francis’ withdrawal from the race means that incumbents in 26 Senate districts and 49 House districts have challengers, including 69 Republicans, 24 DFLers, two members of the Independence Party, one carrying the banner of the Green Party and one who describes his party affiliation as “other.”

Here is a roundup of the other recently registered candidates:

Senate District 15: DFLer Bruce Hentges of St. Cloud is seeking his party’s nomination to run for the seat now held by Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud. Clark is considered the front-runner for the nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and has said that if she gets the nomination she won’t run for the state Senate again.

Clark’s seat is also being sought by Republican John Pederson of St. Cloud, who registered his campaign committee earlier.

Senate District 22: A second Republican has joined the race to challenge seven-term incumbent Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy: Mike Garber of Jackson. Garber and Republican Kim Hummel of Jackson are the only two candidates who have registered to challenge the 78-year-old Vickerman, who has said that he hasn’t yet decided whether to retire after the 2010 legislative session.

Senate District 28: Retiring Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, has also drawn two Republican challengers: newly registered Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls, and John Howe of Red Wing.

Senate District 36: Republican Theresa Stokes of Farmington has registered to challenge seven-term incumbent Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington. Pariseau has picked up no DFL challengers yet.

Senate District 41: DFLer Steve Elkins of Bloomington hopes to unseat incumbent Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina.

Senate District 53: A second Republican has registered to run against freshman incumbent Sen. Sandy Rummel, DFL-White Bear Lake: Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes joins Blake Huffman of Shoreview, who registered earlier.

Senate District 54: Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, one of a dozen DFLers seeking the party’s nomination to run for governor, has picked up a Republican challenger: Tim Johnson of Roseville.

House District 1A: Incumbent Rep. Dave Olin, DFL-Thief River Falls, has picked up his first challenger: Republican Daniel Fabian of Roseau.

House District 2B: Darrell Auginash of Bemidji, a minister and a member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, became the second member of the Independence Party to register to run for the Legislature, challenging incumbent Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids.

House District 12A: Incumbent Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, has picked up a second Republican challenger: Ryan Hartwig of Brainerd joins previously registered Zachariah Jackson of Brainerd.

House District 16A: Incumbent Rep. Gail Kulick Jackson, DFL-Milaca, has picked up her first challenger: Jeff Holm, a Republican from Princeton.

House District 17B: Rep. Jeremy Kalin, DFL-North Branch, becomes one of two legislative incumbents to have collected four challengers (so far) from the opposition party. The newest registered candidate in the district is Republican Robert Barrett of Shafer; he joins previously registered Republicans Jeremy Lindman of Lindstrom and Russell Goudge and Sheldon Anderson, both of Wyoming.

The other district in which the incumbent has four challengers is Senate District 38, where Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, is facing off against four Republicans.

House District 41B: William Reichert, a Republican from Bloomington, hopes to unseat Rep. Paul Rosenthal, DFL-Edina. Reichert is the second Republican to register to run in the district; Patrick Mazorol of Bloomington registered earlier.

House District 60A: Retiring House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, now has three DFLers jockeying for the nomination to succeed her in the House (Kelliher is seeking the DFL nomination for governor and has said that she won’t run again for the House). The latest is Tom Nordyke of Minneapolis; he joins Marion Greene and Katie Hatt, both of Minneapolis, who registered earlier.

House District 65A: Rep. Cy Thao, DFL-St. Paul, is facing a challenger from his own party: Jeremiah Ellis of St. Paul.

For more on the inter-party battles shaping up in legislative elections this year, see this week’s PIM Weekly Report. Not a subscriber? That’s easy to fix.

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