Paulsen says “no” to Senate bid

WASHINGTON – After the losses they took in last year’s elections, some Minnesota Republicans have hoped that U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen would challenge DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014.

They’re going to be disappointed.

When asked Wednesday whether he was interested in a run for Senate, Paulsen said, “No, that’s ridiculous.”

He emphasized that he wants to use his seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee to overhaul the tax code this year and said any legislation produced by that effort would the best way he could represent his constituents in the 3rd District, which spans the western Minneapolis suburbs.

Paulsen has served in the U.S. House since 2009 and before that served 13 years in the Minnesota House, including four years as Majority Leader. He’s become one of the strongest fundraisers in the Minnesota congressional delegation, raising $3.1 million for his last election and still holds more than $770,000 for future races.

UPDATE

Paulsen’s office says his use of the word “ridiculous” wasn’t about running for Senate. A spokesman says Paulsen used the word in the context to the preface of the question that mentioned Paulsen’s “no” vote on the fiscal cliff deal before asking whether he was running for Senate.