Rep. Tony Cornish ended speculation Wednesday when he shared his decision not to run for Minnesota’s First Congressional District
Citing his advantages and responsibilities in the Legislature, along with the scrutiny that a congressional campaign would bring, the seventh-term Republican from Vernon Center said he will not challenge DFL Rep. Tim Walz in 2016.
“I’ve decided to give up my consideration for running for Congress and stay right where I am,” Cornish told reporters during a break in Wednesday’s House floor session while his colleagues looked on. “One of the biggest points is why would I take a chance of running for a position in Congress when Congress has about as popular a rating as the Kardashians.”
Cornish, a retired police officer, said last fall that he was “seriously considering” a run against Walz, and reiterated that he would give him “a run for his money,” said the additional scrutiny that a campaign would bring, along with fundraising, weren’t worth it. The Chair of the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee said he’d rather lend his expertise in environment and public safety policy in the Legislature. He said that “at this point,” he plans to run again, but doesn’t know what the future holds.
Cornish’s announcement comes a day after Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn announced that he will again challenge Walz. Cornish said he won’t decide who to back until more candidates enter the field.
“Hagedorn won’t be the only one. I’m sure not shying away from him, but I’m not committing my support to him or anybody else until I see the whole field,” Cornish said. “It’s going to take a lot to beat Mr. Walz, even though I think that he is a tax and spender.”