WASHINGTON – Three-term U.S. Rep.Erik Paulsen plans to stand for re-election in the 3rd Congressional District rather than challenge Democrats Al Franken for Senate or Mark Dayton for governor next year.
Paulsen’s name had been floated for months as a possible candidate for both offices though he did little to indicate an interest in other offices. In fact, Paulsen went so far as to reject the notion of a Senate bid when asked in January, only to have his staff come back afterwards to say that Paulsen was keeping his options open.
“The warm encouragement from many people to run for U.S. senator or the governorship was deeply humbling,” said Paulsen in a statement issued by his campaign. “However, it is clear to me that the House is currently where I can best represent the people of my district and state.”
Paulsen said he would push to solve problems in Congress and vowed to keep trying to repeal the medical device tax that’s been Paulsen’s top congressional priority.
Fellow Republican Congressman John Kline took his name out of the running for the Senate race last month.
No Republicans have yet to officially declare their intention to take on Franken, who won election in 2008 by a margin of less than 400 votes. Two possible candidates include businessman Mike McFadden, who is giving all signs of gearing up for a run, and talk radio host Jason Lewis, who has talked about entering the race.