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First-term Sen. Karin Housley leaning heavily toward GOP run for governor

Sen. Karin HousleySen. Karin Housley

“The women’s groups and activists that I have spoken with — and even some of the female lobbyists, even DFL lobbyists — have all pledged their support,” says first-term Republican Sen. Karin Housley, who is considering a run for governor.

In an interview, Housley confirmed that she is leaning heavily toward a run and likely will make a decision early next year.

It’s difficult to assess the degree of support Housley would have among GOP activists who determine the party’s endorsement, especially since she would be one of a field of seven candidates.

But her gender could be a game changer.

“Being a woman is an asset,” she said, indicating she would exploit that distinction. “Not to diminish the male candidates, but you do bring a whole new perspective. Not the same old, same old.”

Housley, who lives in St. Mary’s Point, represents a district that encompasses Stillwater and Forest Lake.

She does expect some criticism about running for governor as a relative political newcomer.

“I’m just a freshman legislator. [But] there have been other candidates for governor who aren’t even as qualified as I am,” she said, noting that she owns a realty business and has written a book on finance, “Chicks Laying Nest Eggs.”

Housley has experience jumping into the deep end of the political pool. After incumbent state Sen. Ray Vandeveer suddenly quit the race in 2012, Housley entered the GOP primary on the last day of candidate filings and went on to win.

She won’t rule out running in a gubernatorial primary but said she would seriously seek the GOP endorsement. 

She says that after conservative women’s groups, donors and business groups recruited her, she posed the possibility to her family — professional hockey coach and former NHL star Phil Housley and their four children. “They were all on board and supportive,” she said.

Housley said she did a search of Minnesota governors and their backgrounds, which convinced her that her credentials are sufficient to run a credible race in a short period of time.

“The month of January will be enough time to get everything in order and jump in,” she said.

Housley also confirmed another political tidbit: If she decides to join the governor’s race, she would be the first woman to run for Minnesota governor as a Republican.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/10/2013 - 10:07 am.

    I always thought

    that conservatives were race and gender blind, with a premium on experience and accomplishments. Playing the gender card will cause her to lose more points than she gains with most conservatives.

  2. Submitted by Peter Mikkalson on 12/10/2013 - 11:09 am.

    RE: Go for it!

    Sounds good on paper, the reality is something different. I’d love the GOP to expend all the energy and money in the world promoting this losing venture though.

  3. Submitted by David Frenkel on 12/10/2013 - 11:26 am.

    hockey card

    can she ice skate as well as her husband?

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 12/10/2013 - 11:47 am.


    Republicans obviously like pretty shiny things.

    Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann …

    I’ll stop.

    Mrs Housley is a nice person. I’ve actually met her and had a good chat in a Stillwater cafe with her. In the state of hockey, she’s got last name recognition at least. Who’s ever heard of Scott Honour?

    But for her to be considered a serious candidate for Governor by the GOP is just an example of what pitiful shape they must be in.

    Dayton will win in a walk if his final competitor is drawn from the current selection of candidates, including Mrs. Housely.

    Kills me to agree with Dennis on this one.

  5. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 12/10/2013 - 11:49 am.

    read the Amazon reviews on her book

    Her Amazon reviews were close to 50% one star. She’s a famous guy’s wife. I agree with Mr Tester, playing the gender card instead of having a decent amount of experience and accomplishments sounds like the makings of a weak candidate.

  6. Submitted by Valerie Martin on 12/10/2013 - 02:19 pm.

    First woman to run for MN Governor as Republican?

    Joanne Benson ran for Gov as Republican in 1998. Republican Pat Anderson (Awada) mounted a brief gubernatorial campaign from July 2009 – Jan 2010. Sue Jeffers challenged Tim Pawlenty in the 2006 Republican primary.

    • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 12/10/2013 - 04:05 pm.

      Actually Sue Jeffers ran twice in the same race

      She first entered the 2006 race as the endorsed candidate of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, then decided to enter as a Republican. The Libertarians took back their endorsement. I believe Sue kept their money.

  7. Submitted by John Edwards on 12/10/2013 - 02:44 pm.

    Not a good candidate

    I have heard Karin Housely speak. She is not the candidate true Republicans would want representing them intellectually.

  8. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 12/11/2013 - 08:01 am.


    If you have to google to see if there has ever been anyone less qualified than you to run for an office that is a sign that you aren’t qualified.

  9. Submitted by mark wallek on 12/11/2013 - 10:04 am.

    tired of the same old same old

    Who is this person kidding. I cannot stand the fact that political office has become a career rather than a term of service. Then, when the career nets the needed connections in private industry-lucrative ones of course-it’s off to thwe new career. This woman represents the excitement of self enrichment thru government service, and hence is in fact the same old same old.

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