Hann weighing bid for state GOP chairman

Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, in a file photo. Hann is leaving the Legislature but is considering whether to run for Minnesota Republlican Party chairman Tom Scheck | MPR News

Departing Republican Sen. David Hann said Tuesday he’s considering a campaign to lead the state party if the current chairman steps aside.

Hann said he’s been encouraged to make a bid to chair the Minnesota Republican Party, but hasn’t made a decision about whether to go forward.

“I’m giving thought to it,” Hann said as he left a Senate Rules Committee meeting, perhaps his final hearing as a lawmaker. “I’ve been asked by a number of people and it’s, of course, an honor to be asked to consider that.”

Current GOP chairman Keith Downey has said he doesn’t intend to seek a third, two-year term. But Downey hasn’t made a definitive announcement. Deputy Chairman Chris Fields has expressed interest in moving up if Downey moves on.

Hann will leave the Legislature after being defeated in November even as his party gained Senate control. The Eden Prairie lawmaker has been minority leader for four years and served 14 years overall, which he said has helped him forge ties with many legislators, local GOP activists and party donors. Hann briefly ran for governor in 2010.

“I think I’ve got a good base of contact with a lot of people who are important to the working of the party,” he said.

Hann said he would make a decision sometime in January on whether he’ll run.

He wouldn’t be the first to slide into the chairman’s role after a personal defeat: Downey became chairman in 2013, following a losing campaign for state Senate the prior fall.