Developer launches independent bid for U.S. Senate

Jerry Trooien talked about running for the U.S. Senate as an independent during a state Capitol news conference Monday, April 16. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

A real estate developer from Mendota Heights is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

Jerry Trooien is seeking the seat currently held by DFLer Tina Smith. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith to fill the vacancy created by Al Franken’s resignation. Smith is running, as is Republican Karin Housley.

During a state Capitol news conference Monday, Trooien said running as an independent was his only option.

“For me it would be impossible to run through one of the major parties now, simply because I couldn’t get boxed into a corner of dealing with the bases and all that stuff,” Trooien said.

Trooien first declared his intentions Sunday in a full-page ad that ran in Minnesota newspapers. He frequently referred to the ad, as well as a packet of news conference materials, for specifics about his campaign.

As an independent candidate, Trooien will need to collect 2,000 signatures on a petition to get his name on the ballot.

Trooien said he has been “knocked around” a few times in business, including a well-publicized bankruptcy. He declined to say how much of his own money he is planning to spend on the campaign.

“These guys who are rolling in here with $10, 12, 15 million, if I have to do that to go at it then I’m not very effective at giving the message,” he said. “So, it’s going to be a lot less than the other people are spending. At some point, people are either believing it or not believing it.”

  • Geoff Feller

    It’s a little frustrating that not even MPR is reporting what Trooien’s positions are on any issues. Trooien doesn’t seem to have a campaign website so we have to rely on the media to tell us whether he has anything more to say than that he’s an independent and the two-party system is dysfunctional. Anyone can say he’s independent but that doesn’t mean liberal, conservative, moderate, or radical right/left. Trooien says the system is broken but what’s his plan to fix it? Can MPR help us with that?

    • Pup Tentacle

      He’s fishing for the 2,000 sigs to get him on the ballot. Tribune interviewed him and said his answers were rambling and vague. Leads me to believe he doesn’t have a plan or platform, yet. I think he’s testing the water to figure out what he can run on. From his past, as a real estate developer, it’s obvious he’s a risk taker and when faced with failure uses the legal system to bail himself out, like Trump the “deal maker”/real estate developer. IMHO, this doesn’t bode well if he gets on the ballot. No website, with useful information, is another indicator of cluelessness. If he gets on the ballot I’ll pay more attention to him and I’m sure MPR will, at that point, do a comprehensive interview.

      • Geoff Feller

        Thanks. I did read the Strib article after posting here. There’s nothing to report because he hasn’t offered anything. I suppose Trooien thinks there may be at least 2,000 people who thinks he speaks for them just by saying the two party system is dysfunctional. You’re right, he probably doesn’t care to rock the boat at this stage.