Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, will face a challenger next year for the Republican endorsement for the Minnesota Senate.
Mark Koran, who works in the financial services industry, announced today he will seek the Republican Party's endorsement for the Minnesota Senate in Senate District 32.
Koran, who lives in North Branch, said he believes his strong belief in "government accountability" will be an asset in his run for the Minnesota Senate. Koran said he will abide by the endorsement of the Republican Party and will not run in the primary if he does not win the endorsement.
Nienow announced in August that he intends to seek re-election to the Minnesota Senate next year.
In a press release from his campaign, Koran said he is "an advocate for reasonable economic development that benefits the community, yet preserves its outstanding rural lifestyle."
Nienow first served in the Minnesota Senate from 2003 through 2006. He was defeated for re-election in 2006, but was elected again in 2010 and then re-elected in 2012.
But Nienow, who has been a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility in government, has been mired in controversy over his personal finances.
As reported by the Star Tribune, Nienow was sued in January for failing to make payments on a $613,000 loan from the Small Business Administration. Nienow also filed for bankruptcy and "was relieved of $840,000 in debt," according to a story from the Star Tribune.
Koran said the issues with Nienow's personal finances make the seat a pick-up opportunity for the Senate DFL, who hold a six-seat majority over Republicans in the Minnesota Senate.
"I believe Sean Nienow has serious electability issues," said Koran, who added, "I am engaging in this race because I think we need to protect the seat, I think it is at risk and I believe I can win the seat."
Jason Carroll, the chair of the Chisago County Republican Party, which includes Nienow's district said the party has not recruited a candidate to challenge Nienow, but he acknowledged concerns exist with his candidacy.
"There are a lot of people that would hope we have a fresh candidate next year," said Carroll.
Picture source: Minnesota Legislature, Mark Koran