Former Sen. Norm Coleman says he will not run for governorby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman ended speculation that he would enter the race for Minnesota governor on Sunday night in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
On Monday,Coleman said the decision not to run was personal.
"I felt pretty good about the politics. My decision was based on the personal," Coleman said. "Committments have been made. The timing wasn't right for me or my family and so I made a tough decision but it was important to make now."
Coleman's decision loomed large in the race given his well-known name and fundraising prowess as a U.S. Senator.
"I think I can be part of recreating a more civil and respectful politics, a politics that better expresses the will of the vast majority of people," Coleman said. "My thanks to the many folks who encouraged me to run, but I've learned there are lots of ways to serve without an official position."
There are currently seven Republican candidates running for governor. They include State Representative Marty Seifert of Marshall and State Representative Tom Emmer of Delano.
Seifert says Coleman's decision provides "clarity" to the race.
"It tells people that 'Here are the candidates now' and if it's too late for a former United States Senator to get into the race, I think it would be too late for anyone else to get in at this point," said Seifert. "I think the race on the GOP side is formed."
Seifert said the decision also means the Minnesota Republican Party will save valuable resources since it's unlikely that there will be a brutal primary contest.
Republican Tom Emmer says he'll try to persuade former Senator Norm Coleman to back his candidacy for governor.
"At this point, we're going to redouble our efforts to gain his support and we're going to answer his call for civility as well," Emmer said. "I think the message he gave out, whether it was last night or this morning, I'm not sure, calling for more civility in these races is long overdue."
Emmer said he won't change his campaign strategy because of Coleman's decision, but says it will force undecided GOP activists and donors to pick a candidate.
Emmer says he thinks Coleman's backing would help but Coleman says he won't back anyone at this time.
Even without any official word prior to Sunday, speculation that Coleman could enter the race had an effect on other Republicans planning on entering the gubernatorial race. Former state auditor Pat Anderson ended her campaign for governor last week, saying Coleman's potential status was a factor in her decision to drop out.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez says he wishes former Republican Senator Norm Coleman had for governor, because he says it would have helped elect a DFL candidate.
Melendez says he's confident of the DFL's chances in November despite Coleman's decision.
"What it means is that there's only a weak Republican field left," said Melendez. "The DFL field has many candidates in it with very high name recognition. The Republican field is almost complete unknowns."
Twelve Democrats are currently running for governor, and a spirited DFL primary battle is likely.
(MPR's Than Tibbetts contributed to this report)