WASHINGTON — Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen told a group of University of Minnesota fellows that he has no interest in running for U.S. Senate, according to a university professor, but a Paulsen spokesman said he’s keeping his 2014 options open.
The university’s Larry Jacobs tweeted the news following an event with Paulsen in D.C. on Wednesday. In an interview, Jacobs said Paulsen was asked if he had any interest in challenging Sen. Al Franken in 2014, and he said no, “someone else is going to have to run.”
“It surprised me,” Jacobs said. “It wasn’t just, flat out, ‘I’m not going to do it,’ it was, ‘What are you talking about?’ “
Update, 5:15 p.m.: Paulsen campaign spokesman John-Paul Yates released a statement saying, “Rep. Paulsen is solely focused on representing the 3rd District, but has not ruled anything out related to 2014.”
Paulsen told Minnesota Public Radio last month that he wasn’t planning a run for a Senate, though his staff later contended he was misconstrued. He told The Hill he wasn’t “ruling anything out” when it came to challenging Franken.
But Jacobs, in town with a group of Humphrey School policy fellows for meetings with lawmakers and federal officials, said Paulsen sounded certain he’s not running.
“It was really, ‘No this is not something I’m going to do,’ ” Jacobs said. “He’s quite committed to his district, and he made that quite clear.”
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