Former Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, who lost his seat to Democratic Sen. Al Franken by just a few hundred votes, said on Wednesday that he would not take on Franken in 2014 but did not categorically deny the potential that he may run for governor.
"i haven't ruled out other things," Coleman told the Star Tribune.
He said it was too soon make any decision on whether he would run against DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in two years.
"Folks are still trying to catch their breath," after the 2012 election, he said.
He noted that he still has high name recognition in Minnesota and the ability to raise money quickly so he does not feel pressure to quickly decide whether he would make a run for state office.
Although he said that he never really seriously considered vying against Franken -- "things are too dysfunctional in Washington" -- he did not make a similar claim about running for governor. In 2010, his name was floated as a possible gubernatorial candidate and it shook up the race when he finally decided the would not enter the race.
Coleman would likely be seen by the activist Republicans who endorse candidates as too moderate to win a party nod but could well have the ability to vie in a competitive primary. Some party leaders have already said they expect primary fights in 2014, potentially ending a long string of primary-free statewide GOP contests.
He first told the National Journal that he would not be running for U.S. Senate in the context of a story about Franken. The piece was titled, "Are Republicans scared of Al Franken?"
Coleman said if either U.S. Reps. John Kline or Erik Paulsen jumped into the Senate race, it would immediately become competitive. In an interview with the Star Tribune, he would not say if he had talked to either of the two House members to encourage them to run.