Former Republican Party Chair Chris Georgacas is contacting Republican activists to gauge interest in whether GOP businessman Brian Sullivan should enter the race for governor.
Fourth District GOP Vice Chair Bill Jungbauer, State Vice Chair representing the 4th Congressional District, Bill Jungbauer said Georgacas contacted him last week by e-mail and phone to discuss Sullivan's potential as a candidate. Jungbauer said Georgacas told him Sullivan has strong business experience.
"I believe they're feeling out support for him," Jungbauer said.
Jungbauer said he told Georgacas that he has nothing against Sullivan but is backing former State Auditor Pat Anderson.
Georgacas declined comment when contacted by MPR News. Several sources say he and former Minnesota Republican National Committeeman Jack Meeks are contacting GOP activists to gauge interest in whether there's interest in a Sullivan candidacy. Meeks did not return calls for this report. Former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Carey, who has close ties to Sullivan, also declined comment.
Sullivan did not return repeated calls for comment. He announced in June that he was not going to run for governor in 2010. At the time, he said he wasn't running because he has young children and was trying to start a new business. One Republican activist, who declined to be named because he wasn't authorized by Sullivan to speak, said Sullivan is now giving it serious consideration.
"I would be more surprised if he didn't get in at this point," the activist said.
Sullivan could spend his own resources if he decides to run for governor. In 2002, he lost the GOP endorsement to Tim Pawlenty after spending $2.8 million on the contest, most of it his own money. Sullivan is also well known among GOP activists and is currently Republican National Committeeman for Minnesota.
GOP Party Chair Tony Sutton, who managed Sullivan's 2002 campaign, said he's heard discussion that Sullivan could get into the race but hasn't been privy to any of the details.
"You here rumors all of the time about different candidates," Sutton said. "I hear rumors about Brian Sullivan. I hear rumors about Norm Coleman. I hear rumors about Jim Ramstad. There are always rumors out there who may or may not be running."
There are currently eight Republicans running for governor; Pat Anderson, Leslie Davis, Rep. Tom Emmer, Bill Haas, Sen. David Hann, Phil Herwig, Sen. Michael Jungbauer and Rep. Marty Seifert .
Gov. Pawlenty announced in June that he's not running for a third term.
You can find out where Sullivan stood on the issues in 2002 here.