A groundbreaking ceremony next week in Marshall will clear the way for former state Rep. Marty Seifert to decide whether he is in or out as a Republican candidate for governor.
Seifert has worked for nearly four years as director of the Avera Marshall Foundation, where he’s been raising money for the construction of a new cancer center. Groundbreaking for the project is set for Monday, and Seifert said that means he has met his obligations.
“My commitment to them was that I would get the cancer center done,” Seifert. “If we didn’t have enough money to build and open that thing then I would stay out of politics.”
But his private sector commitment didn’t prevent supporters from still trying to lure him back last weekend. Seifert finished third as a write-in candidate in a Republican Party of Minnesota gubernatorial straw poll. Delegates and alternates to the State Central Committee meeting in Blaine picked their early preference for a candidate to challenge DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, one of five announced candidates in attendance, won the straw poll. State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, finished second.
Siefert, who was a candidate for governor in 2010, attended the meeting as a delegate and was not campaigning. When approached by supporters encouraging him to run again. Siefert said he told them he’s “open to the idea.” Siefert said the 75 write-in votes for him were humbling and a bit surprising. He said he plans to announce his intentions by Thanksgiving.
“For most Minnesotans, campaigns are too long already,” he said. “Is is too late for me? I don’t think so.”
Seifert said if he decides against another campaign, he’ll announce by year’s end which GOP candidate he will endorse.