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Republican Sen. Chris Gerlach to retire

Briana Bierschbach//March 12, 2012

Republican Sen. Chris Gerlach to retire

Briana Bierschbach//March 12, 2012

Sen. Chris Gerlach (Staff photo by Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

After 14 years in the Legislature, Republican Apple Valley Sen. Chris Gerlach says he’s retiring to concentrate on his family and business.

Gerlach announced his retirement via news release late Monday, citing his wife Shelli, two young children and his business, the direct mail house Capitol Direct, as his reasons for leaving the Capitol. Gerlach’s announcement comes ahead of his Senate district’s endorsing convention this weekend.

“While serving in the Legislature is truly an honor and privilege, the family and financial sacrifices are great,” he said in the release. “Now is the time to reassess my personal priorities.”

Gerlach’s announcement also comes after a PIM report late last week that his mail house sent out pro right-to-work fliers to the districts of  reportedly reluctant GOP senators. The fliers, on behalf of the conservative PAC Freedom Club, angered some of his caucus colleagues.

Local GOP Chairman Pat Staley says this weekend’s endorsement will likely be deferred.

Gerlach served six years in the House before running for an open seat in the Senate, where he has served for the last eight years. Before the scandal that dethroned erstwhile GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, Gerlach served as an assistant majority leader and a majority whip. He resigned from the post at a Senate GOP caucus meeting in December, and an all-new team was elected.

Gerlach currently serves as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, and says he plans to remain active in his local community and in Republican politics.

Paul Demko contributed to this post

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