Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, announced today that he’s not running for reelection. Vandeveer, who already filed for office, announced that he’s reversing his decision. He said his declining health played a huge factor in deciding to not run again.
“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000 and my thought at that time was that I would serve until it started impacting my ability to represent my constituents,” Vandeveer said. “In the wake of a grueling session I decided that the time has come.”
Vandeveer was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2006. He was first elected to the Minnesota House in 1998. Vandeveer said he put off his decision until the last minute and said it was an extremely difficult.
“Campaigning has been a huge part of my family for my last 15 years and they’d walk on nails to see my get reelected but I don’t want to put them through that again.”
Vandeveer is one of the more conservative members of the Minnesota Senate. He said he wanted to be remembered for fighting against government spending, less government intervention and for personal freedom and opportunity.
Republicans now have to scramble to find another candidate on the final day of filing. Former Rep. Julie Bunn, DFL-Lake Elmo, is running for the seat. Update: Two Republicans have filed for the seat. Karin Housley and Eric Michael Langness. Housley failed in her bid for the Minnesota Senate in 2010. She lost to Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport.
Redistricting paired Vandeveer and Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo. Lillie decided to move into an open seat rather than to challenge Vandeveer for the GOP endorsement.
Vandeveer’s decision means there are 16 members of the Senate not running for reelection.
Here’s the list:
Democrats not running for re-election:
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon
Sen. Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights
Sen. Ken Kelash, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul
Republicans not running for re-election:
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas
Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton
Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca (Running for Congress)
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo
Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley
Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel
Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina
Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan
Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista
Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake
Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake