First-term Republican Sen. Al DeKruif will not challenge fellow GOP Sen. Julie Rosen for the party’s endorsement in the newly redrawn Senate District 23, in which both incumbents were paired following redistricting.
DeKruif, who initially announced he wouldn’t seek re-election after the new maps were released, began to reconsider that decision as the Vikings stadium bill took shape in the waning days of session. During hours of committee hearings, Rosen, the bill’s chief Senate author, was raked over the coals by lawmakers of both parties as the measure made its way to the floor. She drew particular ire from conservative Republicans opposed to the Vikings stadium.
DeKruif acknowledged that sentiment in saying he wouldn’t run against Rosen. While ultimately deciding against the run, DeKruif made clear in an interview Wednesday morning that he’s still upset over the way the Vikings bill was handled.
“I’m not pleased with the way this whole stadium bill came together and that’s an awful lot of why I decided to look at this again,” DeKruif said. “I believe that [Rosen] did something very bad in putting forward a piece of legislation that is going to put the taxpayers on the hook for 30 years.”
The prospect of looking to unseat Rosen proved too daunting, DeKruif said. The new Senate District 23 comprises much of her previously held territory, and she’s successful been elected there since 2002.
“I believe it’s going to be very difficult for somebody down here to unseat Julie Rosen,” DeKruif said. “So she’ll retain that seat.”
That forecasting aside, though, it’s clear that Rosen still faces blowback from more conservative elements of her party. DeKruif said he received calls from conservatives around the state offering campaign hours, money and general support if he opted to take on Rosen.
For now, though, there doesn’t appear to be a challenge to Rosen in the offing.
For his part, DeKruif said he’ll still be involved in GOP politics after he officially leaves the Legislature. He didn’t rule out a return to the Capitol at some point, either, saying that if Rosen herself opted to not seek re-election he might reconsider his decision once again. DeKruif added, though, that he has no indication Rosen is reconsidering her re-election plans.
“I’m just not going to run against Sen. Rosen at this point,” DeKruif said. “If she steps down or retire, then I may take a second look.”