Mary Pawlenty, an ex-Dakota County District Court judge and wife to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, announced yesterday she would not run for Congress in Minnesota's Second Congressional District in 2016. 

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Pawlenty said she "deeply appreciat[ed] the words of encouragement" but added she was "choosing to remain a Mediator, a professional who facilitates conflict resolution."

Pawlenty became the fourth possible Republican candidate to decline in the last week to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Republican Congressman John Kline. Kline announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election to Congress next year. 

Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, and former U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden all announced they will not run for Congress in 2016. 

But two additional Republicans are now expressing interested in running for the seat. 

Former State Senator John Howe, R-Red Wing, said in an interview this evening that he is considering a run for Congress. "It's going to take a huge personal and financial commitment to win this seat,” said Howe, who briefly ran for Secretary of State in 2014. Howe said he expected to make a decision within the next week. 

Chris Andryski, a CPA and managing partner at Minnesota Financial Services, said last evening he is considering a run for Congress. Andryski is a veteran of the U.S. Army and he was a Republican delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. 

"I am still having discussions about a potential congressional run," said Andryski. He added he has spoken about his candidacy with family, friends, and the membership of the Freedom Club, a conservative non-profit organization, which includes Andryski. 

Republican David Gerson, who ran unsuccessfully against Kline in 2012 and 2014, announced his third run for Congress in January and is the only Republican candidate currently in the race.

Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and former Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, are also considered possible Republican congressional candidates in the district. 

Angie Craig and Mary Lawrence are the only two announced Democratic candidates for Congress. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, announced last week in an email he is considering a run for Congress. 

Picture source: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune