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Marty Seifert will seek GOP endorsement for governor

He plans to announce Nov. 21 that he’s entering the race to unseat Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014.

Marty Seifert
MinnPost photo by Brian HallidayMarty Seifert

Marty Seifert, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, will give it another try:  He plans to announce Nov. 21 that will seek the GOP endorsement for governor, sources confirm.

Seifert’s entry into the race will make five Republicans — Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson, state Rep. Kurt Zellers and businessman Scott Honour — who want to unseat DFLer Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014.

In a straw poll last month among GOP activists, Seifert came in third as a write-in candidate.  Johnson won the poll but Seifert carried enough momentum to persuade him to try again for the Republican nomination.

Seifert lost a tight race for endorsement in 2010 to then-state Rep. Tom Emmer, who went on to lose a close contest to Dayton.  Seifert, 41, is a popular former minority leader from Marshall who represents the more moderate, pragmatic wing of the party. He still has a base of support among the activists who will determine which candidate gets endorsed.

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The endorsement may hold less power in 2014, however. Zellers and Honour have said they will go to a primary if they do not get the endorsement.  Seifert may well follow that route, given that the doors to a primary are now wide open.

In 2010, prior to the endorsement, Seifert held a significant fundraising advantage over other GOP candidates — and there were several.  He was the only candidate to reach the limit on maximum donations of $2,000 per individual.  The limit in 2014 will be $4,000.

Given his late entry into the race, Seifert will not have that distinction when the first campaign-finance reports are due at the end of the year.

Seifert has some organizational business to finish up before the Nov. 21 announcement, including selecting a general chairman for his campaign. He will weave his political activities around his day job as executive director of the Avera Marshall Foundation, a nonprofit that helps support the Avera health-care system.