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The Lakeville-area Republican announced his decision in a letter to Senate Minority Leader David Hann, who is also thinking about entering the 2014 field.

Dave Thompson steps down from GOP Senate leadership

GOP Sen. Dave Thompson is resigning his post to focus on his gubernatorial candidacy. (staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Sen. Dave Thompson is resigning his post as Assistant Minority Leader to focus on his run for the governor’s office. The Lakeville-area Republican announced his decision in a letter to Senate Republican caucus leaders, including Senate Minority Leader David Hann, who is also thinking about entering the 2014 field of Republican hopefuls.

In the letter, which was issued on Wednesday, Thompson wrote that he thought it would be “unwise” to continue in his Senate leadership role. In that position, Thompson was often called upon to represent the caucus in weekly press conferences, frequently filling in for Hann, or appearing alongside him and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt to state the party’s position on legislative issues. Thompson writes that fulfilling the assistant leader role had been an “honor,” adding, in a passage addressed to Hann, that he plans to “make myself available to help you in any way I can for as long as you serve as our Leader.”

Thompson made his candidacy official with a Capitol press conference last week, where he announced that he would campaign on lower taxes and improving the public education system. Thompson’s entrance brought the number of official gubernatorial candidates to four, with businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner and former legislator Jeff Johnson and Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, having filed their campaign paperwork. Among them, Thompson and Johnson have said they would abide by the party endorsement process, while Zellers and Honour have hinted they might stay on to run in a GOP primary.

On Monday, Hann said he plans to make his own announcement some time this week, though so far no specific date or time for that announcement has been made public.

Two other  Senate GOPers are also nearing their own decisions: Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said he is talking over the decision with his family, while Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, has confirmed that she, too, might run for the chance to challenge Gov. Mark Dayton, telling Politics in Minnesota last week that she would make her decision “soon.”

While dueling candidacies could make for somewhat complicated relationships within the Republican caucus during the 2014 session, Thompson’s candidacy is unlikely to bear on the decision from his superior, Hann: a GOP insider confirmed to Politics in Minnesota that the confidantes were acting independently, and had made no “gentlemen’s agreement” between the two of them.

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One comment

  1. Dave Thompson is the only Republican candidate who can beat Mark Dayton. He is well informed, articulate, and has an ability to describe complex issues in a concise easy to grasp fashion. I’ve watched him debate, and he is excellent at making his points without personal attacks on his opponents. He loves Minnesota and has our best interests at heart. He’s is a small business person, so understands what it is like to sign both sides of a paycheck. He is in touch with his community and understands how families are being buried at a time when many are either unemployed or underemployed by massive government mandates and taxes at the state and federal levels. He has commonsense solutions to offer to these problems. Dave is a conservative, and Tom Emmer barely lost the last election. The GOP needs to understand that we need to rally early around the best candidate, and that is Dave Thompson. The warring factions that developed within the part and donors after the last GOP candidate for governor was nominated lost us the election. We can’t afford a repeat of this after witnessing the unchecked tax and spending spree of the last Session controlled totally by the DFL.

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