Former state Rep. Keith Downey is making a bid for the chairmanship of the Minnesota Republican Party.

"Announced today I am running for MNGOP Party Chair. Our state needs a vital GOP, hope to be part of it," Downey announced via Twitter Wednesday morning.

Downey, a management consultant from Edina, lost a bid for the District 49 Senate seat to Democrat Melisa Franzen last November.

The Minnesota GOP has been battered by financial woes and November elections that cost the party control of the Legislature. The current interim chairman, Pat Shortridge, plans to step down when his term ends this April.

In a letter announcing his intentions, Downey wrote:

Today I am announcing to GOP delegates and alternates statewide my intention to run for State Republican Party Chair.  We have a lot of work to do, and it would be an honor to serve as your State Party Chairman!
At its core, the State Republican Party's job is to provide leadership to advance Minnesota for the future.  But to do that, we need a turnaround. 
We need to redesign our State Party's operations.  We need to grow our fundraising and fix our finances.  We need to communicate our principles with clear solutions that engage all Minnesotans.  And we need to win.
It is a critical time.  We must do all this not for our own sake, but for the good of the people of Minnesota and our country.  These times demand an excellent Republican Party, and together we can get the job done! 
A heartfelt thank you to our current Chairman Pat Shortridge for all he has done, and to his team.  We now need to take the next steps, and they are big ones.  
As a businessman and recent State Representative, I hope to earn your confidence with the right combination of principle, skill and experience, and a concrete plan for the gains we need to make.  Look for more information from me soon.
Thank you for your service to the people of Minnesota, and a Happy New Year to you and yours!