Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman announced on January 17 that he will not seek the Republican nomination for governor of Minnesota this year. Coleman's decision, and Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty's statement last June that he will not seek a third term in that office, have left the Republican race wide open.
The candidates include:
State Representative Marty Seifert, 37, of Marshall, in southwestern Minnesota. He has been in the House since 1997, and was the Republican leader from 2007 to 2009.
State Senator David Hann, 57, of Eden Prairie, a suburb of Minneapolis. He has been a senator since 2003.
State Representative Tom Emmer, 48, of Delano, an exurban town west of Minneapolis. He entered the House in 2005.
Minnesota Republicans use the same endorsement system as that state's Democrats, as I described in this post. That process begins with precinct caucuses for all parties on Tuesday, February 2.
The Republicans will endorse a candidate at their state convention, April 29-May 1. Those who lose the endorsement can challenge the endorsed candidate in the primary. But these three candidates have all pledged to abide by the convention's endorsement.
Most reports call Seifert the front-runner, with Emmer being his strongest challenger.
I often note family connections in describing the candidates for any election. In this race, it's quite possible that two relatives by marriage might oppose each other in the general election. Not close relatives, though. According to Seifert's bio page on the Legislature's web site (see link above), his first cousin is married to a third cousin of Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Keliher, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. Practically brother and sister!