Downey running for Republican Party Chair

Former state Rep. Keith Downey of Edina says he’s running to be the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. Downey sent an e-mail to Republican delegates this morning announcing his plans:

“At its core, the State Republican Party’s job is to provide leadership to advance Minnesota for the future. But to do that, we need a turnaround.

We need to redesign our State Party’s operations. We need to grow our fundraising and fix our finances. We need to communicate our principles with clear solutions that engage all Minnesotans. And we need to win.”

Downey was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2008. He lost his bid for the Minnesota Senate in November to DFLer Melisa Franzen. Downey also served as co-chair of Kurt Bills’ unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2012.

Current Party Chair Pat Shortridge is not running for re-election. The person who replaces him will have a tough job ahead. The party is more than $1 million in debt and has been reeling after the November election. Democrats currently control every statewide office, the Minnesota Legislature and five of the Minnesota’s eight congressional seats.

Downey is the second candidate to announce a run for party chair. Republican Party Senate District 34 Party Chair Marjorie Holsten says she’s also seeking the post.

Shortridge’s term ends in April.

Here’s Downey’s full e-mail:

Today I am announcing to GOP delegates and alternates statewide my intention to run for State Republican Party Chair. We have a lot of work to do, and it would be an honor to serve as your State Party Chairman!

It is a critical time. We must do all this not for our own sake, but for the good of the people of Minnesota and our country. These times demand an excellent Republican Party, and together we can get the job done!

A heartfelt thank you to our current Chairman Pat Shortridge for all he has done, and to his team. We now need to take the next steps, and they are big ones.

As a businessman and recent State Representative, I hope to earn your confidence with the right combination of principle, skill and experience, and a concrete plan for the gains we need to make. Look for more information from me soon.

Thank you for your service to the people of Minnesota, and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

Regards,

Keith Downey