Independence Party won't back U.S. Senate candidateby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Independence Party has regularly endorsed candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate who gain enough support to maintain major party status.
But this year is different.
IP Chairman Mark Jenkins says the party has decided to not recruit a 2012 Senate candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar.
Jenkins says the party will instead focus its limited resources on trying to win legislative seats for the first time.
"We're at a point where we have a wide open opportunity to get maybe five, six state legislative seats, and that's my focus," he said. "That's going to be our party's focus."
Jenkins says he can't prohibit someone from running under the IP banner, but he says the party will not provide any financial or organizational support to that candidate.
"My hope is that in 2014 maybe we have the resources to support both a statewide governor's race and a slew of state legislative races," he said. "But I mean it's no secret that there are some areas of the state where we're a little thin, and we need to built that up. I want that to be our focus."
Klobuchar is running for a second term next year. So far, two Republican challengers have stepped forward.