Emerging anew into the political scene on Thursday, Republican Marty Seifert jumped into the already crowded race to unseat DFL Gov. Mark Dayton next year.
"I think it's a wide open race," Seifert said at a St. Paul announcement.
Seifert, the always quick with a quip former Minnesota legislator, adds a prominent outstate voice to the race. He long represented Marshall, Minnesota in the Legislature and has been the executive director of the Avera Marshall Foundation since late 2010.
This is Seifert's second swing for the seat. He ran in 2010 and dropped out when he lost the Republican endorsement to Tom Emmer.
He said although he will work hard to win the nod at next spring's Republican Party convention he is "open minded" regarding running in a primary if he does not receive that imprimatur.
Seifert, 41, will join other Republicans in that openness. Both businessman Scott Honour and state Rep. Kurt Zellers have made clear they will continue to run if convention activists pick someone else. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and state Sen. Dave Thompson have said they will abide by the endorsement. All four of those candidates hail from the Twin Cities suburbs.
Seifert differs from those four in saying he will not release his tax information to the public. Dayton has long released his; Johnson and Thompson released theirs and officials from Honour and Zellers' campaigns have said theirs will be on the way as well.
Seifert said he has moved to part time work at the medical foundation and will phase out of that job entirely in December so that he can concentrate on his campaign.
“Once before former Rep. Marty Seifert tried to convince the right-wing activists in the Republican Party that he would carry their conservative torch through a gubernatorial election," said DFL Chair Ken Martin. Martin claimed the lesson of the 2013 elections was that Republicans should offer up someone who can work with both Democrats and Republicans. "It will be interesting to see if Republican activists got that memo.”
When Seifert ran three years ago, Republican activists saw Emmer as more exciting choice and a better conservative standard barer. Emmer, who is now running for the U.S. House seat Rep. Michele Bachmann will vacate, went on to narrowly lose to Dayton in what otherwise was a very good year to the GOP.
State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, was a Emmer supporter in 2010 and is now backing Seifert. He said that, in retrospect, Seifert may have been able to beat Dayton back then and he believes he can do it next year.