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.