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Republican Seifert running for governor, but not as a conservative purist

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Seifert announced his campaign for governor joined by his wife Traci, daughter Brittany and son Braxton.

Marty Seifert, the sixth Republican to announce that he’s running for governor in 2014, holds his own on conservative principles. In response to questions at his formal announcement Thursday, the self-described “practicing Roman Catholic” reiterated his opposition to public funding for late-term abortion, gay marriage, and noted he actively opposed Obamacare as early as 2010.

But Seifert arouses suspicion among some of the GOP activists who will endorse a candidate next spring and who failed to endorse him when he ran for governor in 2010. He is not a purist and he is open to compromise.  

He indicated as much in elaborating on one of the proposals he offered as the cornerstone of his campaign. Seifert wants to stop “any attempt to release dangerous sex offenders into our community,” a response to the furor over a scheduled release of a sex offender that was halted by Gov. Mark Dayton.

When asked how he would accomplish that, he said: “It’s an excellent opportunity for bipartisanship. I’m going to work with [Attorney General] Lori Swanson, who agrees with me and I agree with her.”

The 41-year-old former state House minority leader from Marshall was known as a budget-slasher during his 10 years at the Legislature.   According to Seifert, that budget legislation often passed with DFL votes.  “Sometimes it’s how you put things together and how you explain it,” he said.

Seifert made no promise that he would abide by the party endorsement and not go into a primary battle, but said he does intend to aggressively pursue the GOP endorsement.

Seifert said he believes that electability ultimately will determine who will win the Republican endorsement and primary. “They’re tired of losing statewide elections,” he said of Republicans, and that puts him in stronger position than the other GOP candidates: Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson, Kurt Zellers, Rob Farnsworth and Scott Honour.

“I have a proven record of having the ability to get non-Republican votes,” he said. “For seven terms I was the top Republican vote-getter in my district.”

And he couldn’t have done that without bipartisan support, Seifert said, ending his formal remarks with “a message to the Republican Party: You cannot win the state of Minnesota unless you have non-Republicans vote for you. At some point we need to understand that we need to ask every Minnesotan to join our cause.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/21/2013 - 08:13 pm.

    Until I See Marty Seifert Demonstrate

    that he has realized that there are many different and legitimate points of view, many different ways to believe, and many different ways to live,…

    and that he is wrong when he thinks the problems in this world and the problems of all his fellow humans could be solved if only everyone else would be,…

    exactly like him,…

    I will remain convinced that he is clueless to the ACTUAL problems of our state (and our government) and thus completely ignorant regarding how our state might be more efficiently and effectively run,…

    and completely blind to how government might address the issues that we need to address collectively and cannot effectively address as individuals.

    He would be useless at best, and likely very damaging as governor.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 11/22/2013 - 07:44 am.

    Amen, Greg.I wonder if any

    Amen, Greg.

    I wonder if any journalists will ask Seifert to explain his racism, as detailed here:

    The relevant portion:

    Things really got personal when Seifert, the House minority leader from Marshall, picked up on the theme that health and human services is “out of control.”

    Seifert then made everyone in the room gasp when he suggested that Minnesota might not be able to help provide health care to “anyone not born in Minnesota.”

    House Speaker Keilliher was first to jump on Seifert’s comment.

    “How many of you were not born in Minnesota?” she asked chamber members.

    About half the people in the room raised their hands.

    She noted that her great-grandmother was born in Sweden. Her husband was born in a different state.

    “We shouldn’t leap to conclusions about who’s getting health care,” she said to Seifert.

    “I meant foreigners,” muttered Seifert at one point.

    And this got Pogemiller incensed.

    “Those people — the Ecuadoran mothers with their children, the Hondurans, the Somalis — may be foreigners to you, Seifert,” Pogemiller said, “but they’re constituents to me. It’s offensive what you said.”


    Seifert is a racist. Period. He represents all the worst aspects of GOP policies, which punish anyone who, as Greg K. put it, is not “exactly like him.”

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/22/2013 - 06:31 pm.

      That’s Amazing

      He stepped in it once, and when called on it he put the other foot in it too. Sounds like he went to the Tom Emmer School of Campaigning.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/22/2013 - 09:49 am.

    It’s an indication

    …of just how far to the neofascist end of the spectrum the Republican Party has moved that Mr. Seifert is regarded in some Republican circles as not purist-enough. It does seem true that, as he says, Republicans are unlikely to win statewide office without gaining non-Republican voters, but if his “willingness to compromise” starts as far to the right as it appears, then that willingness is largely meaningless.

    While I like the fact that he seems to understand the “purist” right wing policies are unlikely to be election winners, his “cause” is one I’ve little interest in joining unless and until the Republican Party as a whole moves away from the sort of behavior that Ron Meador writes about today. That the bullies in the back of the room are older now, and have children of their own, does nothing to make their cause — their denigration of people not “just like them” — any more admirable.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/22/2013 - 11:13 am.

    When will Republicans try a little honesty?

    Seifert is going to pretend to be what? A moderate? Bait-n-Switch pure and simple. Pawlenty was supposed to be a moderate, and Emmer, and on and on. Granted, the bait-n-switches worked for a while but I think MN voters have gotten tired of it. I think the “laser focus” on jobs that produced nothing but divisive and irrelevant amendment battles was last bait-n-switch Minnesotan’s want to see for a while. When did this kind of dishonesty become a Republican virtue? Seifert thinks he can fool enough people into thinking he’ll be a moderate bi-partisan to elected? And then what?

    I dunno, I suppose when you actually have no moderate bi-partisan candidates pretending you’re one is the best you can do.

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