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Republican Hegseth is out of U.S. Senate race. For good.

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Republicans Updated: May 24, 2012 - 1:03 PM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hegseth, who was trounced in a GOP endorsing contest last week, made clear Thursday that he is a former U.S. Senate candidate.

"He will abide by the endorsement process and not run in a primary," spokesman Kyler Nerison said in an email Thursday.

Although Hegseth had previously said that he would not run in a primary if he did not win his party's endorsement, he sent out a cryptic email to supporters Wednesday that raised serious doubts about that pledge.

The email was titled, "the fight continues" and did not say he planned to support state Rep. Bills, who decisively won the GOP nod at the state convention on Friday.

In the email, he  trashed his opponents as mudslingers who “used underhanded tactics” and said his convention fate was “nearly sealed before we arrived in St. Cloud -- a credit to the overwhelming Ron Paul organization.” But he went on to say that he will continue to fight for a Republican U.S. Senate and “we must continue to fight for a strong national defense and traditional values,” two things anti-Paulers accuse Paul and therefore Bills of lacking.

Hegseth concluded the email by saying that he would take some “downtime to consider options and next steps for the months and years ahead. I welcome your input.”

Neither he, nor his campaign returned numerous requests for clarification on Wednesday, giving weight to the speculation that he would still try for a Republican nod in the August primary.

But Thursday, his campaign ended that speculation.

"He will continue to fight for conservative values in the months and years ahead. What form that takes is still being decided, but he will not run in a primary against Kurt Bills," Nerison said.

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