Former GOP lawmaker and Republican operative Mike Osskopp will officially join the race for the Minnesota Republican Party’s open chair position. He’s expected to make the announcement official this morning via news release, he said on Twitter late Thursday.
The four-term House member from Lake City, Minn. joins a small field of GOP chair candidates, one that notably includes Eden Prairie businessman Brandon Sawalich, with whom many prominent Republicans have already aligned themselves. Among those who’ve endorsed Sawalich are former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, current House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Sen. David Hann and Rep. Keith Downey.
Former party Chairman Ron Eibensteiner and veteran GOP strategist Pat Shortridge, both of whom considered a run of their own, are backing Sawalich as well.
But Osskopp is not without his own political pedigree and is thought to offer more as a strategist than the businessman Sawalich. Osskopp served as district director for U.S. Rep. John Kline and runs a government relations firm. He would, then, bring more campaign experience than Sawalich, but not as much fundraising power for a party currently drowning in debt.
Aside from Osskopp and Sawalich, the only other candidate officially in the race for chair is is Todd McIntyre, who is not well known in GOP activist circles. Terry McCall, chair of the GOP in the Second Congressional District, is thought to be still considering a run.
The GOP will gather on New Year’s Even in St. Cloud to select a new chair to replace former party Chairman Tony Sutton. New Deputy Chair Kelly Fenton is currently serving as interim chair.