Farnsworth joins crowded GOP field for governor

Rob Farnsworth, a GOP candidate for governor, stands next to his booth at the Minnesota State Fair. (MPR photo/Tim Pugmire)

The latest Republican candidate to join the 2014 race for governor was busy meeting potential supporters today at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday.

Rob Farnsworth, a special education teacher from Hibbing, announced Wednesday that he’ll seek the GOP endorsement to challenge Democratic incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton next year. But he has not yet decided whether to abide by that endorsement. At the fair, Farnsworth was highlighting his teacher union experience.

“I’m a rarity,” Farnsworth said. “I’m a Republican who is a union member, and I think that’s going to help to get me elected, because there are 350,000 union members in Minnesota that Republicans pretty much ignore and write off. So, we have conservative union members that won’t vote Republican. I think that’s going to be a benefit.”

Farnsworth is the fifth Republican running for governor. He joins businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson and state Rep. Kurt Zellers.

Farnsworth said he plans to rely on small campaign contributions, and he views his lack of legislative experience as an asset.

“The Republicans in the Legislature are polling lower than any politician in Minnesota,” he said. “So not having that political baggage is going to be a benefit.”

Farnsworth ran for Congress in 2010 in the 8th District, loosing the GOP endorsement to Chip Cravaack.