Mark Ritchie — Minnesota two-term secretary of state who was hailed nationally for overseeing the state’s elections, particularly the 2008 U.S. Senate recount — says he won’t seek another term in 2014.
He said in a statement to friends and supporters:
This was a difficult decision for me. But, after several months of thought and discussions with family, I concluded that January 2015 will be the right time for me to step aside — making way for the next generation of talented leadership in the Office of the Secretary of State.
He beat incumbent Republican Mary Kiffmeyer in the 2006 state-wide election, with 49-44 percent margin. In 2010, he beat Republican challenger Dan Severson, by a 49-45 percent margin.
Ritchie’s announcement already has set off a round of potential candidate interest and speculation.
MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports that Hennpin County Elections Manager Rachel Bohman will seek the post. And the Star Tribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger reported that state Rep. Steve Simon, a DFLer from St. Louis Park and chair of the House elections committee, is considering a run.
Also considering a run, according to the Strib: Republican Kent Kaiser, who worked in the Secretary of State’s Office under Kiffmeyer.
In his message, Ritchie says he’ll continue a committment to social justice and public service, and welcomes suggestions about how he does that.
Our team at the Office of the Secretary of State has accomplished a great deal over the past six and a half years. Minnesota has remained #1 in elections; we’ve transformed our business services into the most efficient and customer-friendly in the nation; we launched Safe at Home, our address confidentially program to protect survivors of domestic violence.
We managed two critical election recounts with care and integrity. And we’ve found ways to partner with organizations and local governments in every corner of the state to celebrate Minnesota’s history and promote its heritage of public service.
I’m pleased to have another 18 months as your Secretary of State. We will continue to expand business services, promote civic engagement, and defend democracy.