Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, surprised Minnesota legislative campaign watchers by announcing he’s withdrawing his re-election bid. The news, which was broke by Minnesota Public Radio, came on the last day of the candidate filing period.
Vandeveer, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000, cited health reason for his decision not to run.
Republican Karin Housley immediately entered the race. Reached by phone, the former 2010 Senate GOP candidate, who was drawn into Vandeveer’s District 39 due to redistricting, said she filed for the seat this afternoon. Housley, who is the wife of Hall of Fame hockey player Phil Housley, narrowly lost to Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, in 2010.
(Update: Vandeveer’s former campaign staffer and current vice chair of the Washington County section of the 6th Congressional District GOP Eric Langness also filed to run.)
Housley said she was in St. Paul visiting her daughter when she got the call that Vandeveer wasn’t running. So she went to the secretary of state’s office with about two hours to spare before the filing period ended.
She will face former DFL Rep. Julie Bunn of Lake Elmo.
Vandeveer was first elected to the House in 1998. In 2006, he was elected to the Senate to succeed Michele Bachmann, who was elected to Congress. In the last session he was the chairman of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.