There has been more fallout among incumbents who were recently paired in the same districts as a result of redistricting.
The biggest question is what GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean intends to do. Dean has been paired with Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake. McFarlane told MPR News that she’s not sure whether she’s going to run again.
Dean said he too was undecided about his political future.
“I certainly hope to be,” when asked if he want to come back to the Minnesota House.
Dean later declined to answer whether he’ll challenge McFarlane or move into a new legislative district.
“I haven’t talked to Carol,” Dean said. “It would be inappropriate for me to say anything publicly.”
When pressed about whether he intends to challenge McFarlane, Dean said “I haven’t made any decisions.”
Dean wasn’t the only one trying to make up his mind. Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, said he hasn’t decided whether he intends to run for re-election. He said he needs to talk with Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, who is now in the same district.
Koenen said he hopes to run for re-election but doesn’t want to be in an endorsement battle with Falk.
“It’s my intention that Rep. Falk and I work this out to a mutual agreement,” Koenen said. He said one option is for one of them to challenge Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, but they both prefer to stay in the House. Koenen says he’d like to make a decision quickly.
Meanwhile, two Republicans paired in southern Minnesota say they’ll leave the decision up to the delegates. Rep. Ron Shimanski, R-Silver Lake, and Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen R-Glencoe, were paired in House District 18B.
“This is one that neither Ron or I would seek out, but it’s what we have to accept,” Gruenhagen said.
Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, said he’s decided to seek the GOP endorsement even though he was paired with Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer.
“I’ll be running,” Dettmer said. “My wife and I have already decided that we’re going to run for office and we’re going to ask for the endorsement.”
Barrett said he hasn’t made a decision. There is an open seat roughly a mile from his home.
In the Minnesota Senate, Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, says he’s still trying to decide what to do. Lillie is paired with Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake. Lillie said it’s possible that he’ll move into an open seat in Woodbury.
“There is a possibility of running in that district,” Lillie said. “It is a home base for us. My wife is the medical director at the hospital there.”
Lillie also said he could run for Congress against DFL Rep. Betty McCollum. Vandeveer was unavailable to comment.
Two Republicans paired in a west Central Minnesota Senate District say they hope to decide about their political future within the next day. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, have been paired. Both said they hope to announce some sort of plan by Friday.
Rep. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada, hasn’t been paired with an incumbent, but she says she’s going to give up her House seat and run for an open seat in the Minnesota Senate. Scalze said redistricting left her in a district that has an open Senate seat and an open House seat. She said she felt that running for the Senate will help her deliver on her agenda.
“There is going to need some experience in that district,” Scalze said. “I can give that to them”
One lawmaker who was paired in redistricting announced today that he’s retiring. Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan, said he’ll leave the House after seven terms. Buesgens moved from his home in Jordan and now lives in Savage. That means he was paired with Rep. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville.
Buesgens said he was proud of his work on K-12 issues and his ability to slow down or defeat legislation he disliked. He was often the only no vote on bills
“If people are looking for a laundry list of new laws that they put in the statute books as their measure of success then I’m pretty unsuccessful,” Buesgens said. “But if you’re looking for someone who would stand up and champion liberty and freedom then I think I’ve been very successful for that.”
Buesgens said he has no intention of running for office again.
There will also be an endorsement battle in Senate District 31. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, and Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-Ham Lake, were paired together. Both say they want to stay in the Senate.
Benson said she’s committed to abiding by the decision of the Republican delegates. The first-term Republican said she’ll stress her work on the estate tax, energy policies and health care
“You hope through steel on steel that the delegates pick the best candidate.”
Jungbauer said he’s looking forward to running in the district. He said he already represents a large portion of it and said he has the opportunity to represent family members that he didn’t represent before.
“It was like a no brainer for me, Jungbauer said. “It’s like I have to try to run.”
Jungbauer initially said on The Late Debate radio that he would run in a primary if he didn’t win the endorsement. But he backed off of those comments on Thursday.
“There is no way on this earth that I will walk out of a normal, fair endorsement convention where somebody says to me ‘Jungbauer, you’re not our guy’ and I would go ahead.”
Jungbauer predicted that the upcoming convention will be a “tough endorsement fight.”
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, announced that she’s also leaving her House District to run for an open seat in the Minnesota Senate. Kiffmeyer, who also served as Minnesota Secretary of State, said she’ll continue to focus on the same issue in the Legislature but will be representing a larger district.
“I’ll work on the same issues but I’ll represent a larger distrit than I would as a House member,” Kiffmeyer said. “Especially with a brand new district, I’ll be able to give some experienced leadership to both sides of the district.”
Kiffmeyer also said making a quick decision will allow Republicans to run for the two other open seats in the district.
Here’s a list of the lawmakers who have announced their retirements so far:
Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville
Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Ottertail
Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo
Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon
Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista