Seifert for governor write-in effort launched in advance of straw poll

Rep. Marty Seifert, during a 2010 campaign event. (MPR Photo by Tim Pugmire)

Republican Party of Minnesota members will have five announced gubernatorial candidates to pick from this Saturday when they fill out a straw poll ballot at the State Central Committee meeting in Blaine, but there will also be an effort to add former state Rep. Marty Seifert to the mix as a write-in selection.

Beltrami County Republican Chairman Ken Cobb launched a “Write in Marty” Facebook page and Twitter account to help drum up support for Seifert in advance of the straw poll.

“We know that there are a lot of Marty supporters among the Republican rank and file,” Cobb said. “This is an opportunity to show that even though he’s not an announced candidate that he has a lot of support already.”

Republicans are looking for a candidate to challenge incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who is seeking a second term next November. Seifert ran for governor in 2010, but lost the GOP endorsement to Tom Emmer. He has not yet said whether he’ll run again in 2014. But Cobb said he thinks there’s a strong possibility that Seifert, whom he describes as the most electable candidate, will jump in the race next month.

“I believe that he would have been our strongest candidate and our best opportunity to defeat Mark Dayton the first time, and I believe that’s the case again,” he said.

The five GOP candidates who will be listed on the straw poll ballot are teacher Rob Farnsworth, businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson and state Rep. Kurt Zellers.

Republican delegates will also vote on their early preference for next year’s U.S. Senate race.