Mike Ciresi announced this afternoon that he is withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.
Ciresi’s decision was hardly shocking to political insiders, although the timing was unexpected.
The lack of traction he showed throughout the campaign seemed to continue over the weekend at 30 DFL district conventions, a source with the Al Franken campaign said. That trend showed Franken dominating, with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, once considered a lightweight by Minnesota pundits, running second.
That Ciresi is out is hardly good news for Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor at the University of St. Thomas. All along, it had been his hope that Ciresi could block Franken from endorsement in the early ballots of the convention, with more and more people turning to him.
Now, he has to do a whole lot of blocking with little money, and Franken becomes the heavy favorite to win DFL endorsement to run against Sen. Norm Coleman this fall.
This is the second time that Ciresi, the attorney who gained national fame for his court victory over the tobacco industry, has run for the U.S. Senate. He lost in the 2000 DFL primary to the eventual winner, Mark Dayton. Here is the text of Ciresi’s withdrawal statement:
From: Ciresi, Michael V.
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 4:28 PM
Subject: MIKE’S STATEMENT ON WITHDRAWING FROM SENATE RACE
I am announcing today my withdrawal from the contest for the DFL endorsement and the conclusion of my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. In my judgment, continuing the endorsement race would only lead to an unnecessary floor fight. It is time to step aside.
On entering the race, I expressed my passionate belief that our country had lost its direction and that the middle class was being crushed economically. We have a failed foreign policy that has led us into a war that, despite the extraordinary service of our armed forces and the sacrifices of their families, has served to further destabilize the Middle East and led to a less safe world. Middle class jobs are evaporating and quality educational opportunity is being denied to our children. College education is increasingly unaffordable, and graduates are saddled with enormous loans. We have a “sick care” system rather than a health care system that is affordable and accessible to all. The environment is not being nurtured and protected. We have a tax system that has created the greatest wealth gap since the early 1900s. Staggering debt is being passed on to future generations, and yet those who seek political office say little about the difficult economic choices we must make.
We are at defining moment in our nation’s history, and we have the opportunity to reject the failed policies of the past and write a new chapter in the American story. I am confident we will do so because of the spirit, creativity, and optimism of our fellow citizens.
Ann and I have traveled our entire state for the past year, and the desire and sense of urgency for change is palpable. We believe that the people will demand that the tough choices be presented and that the vast majority of Americans will reject self-interest in favor of the common good and shared sacrifice. I firmly believe that America’s best days are still ahead of us. As we return to private life, I will continue my efforts, as I have my entire life, to work with others in contributing to the common good of our state and nation.
Ann and I and our family wish to express our deep gratitude to all of our fellow Minnesotans who have so graciously welcomed us into their homes, businesses, and towns and engaged us in heartfelt discussions concerning the issues facing our nation. We are also deeply indebted to all of our supporters and staff who passionately believe in our message and have worked tirelessly on our behalf. The memories and friendships forged are timeless. We encourage all to remain committed to changing the direction of our nation and to support candidates of their choice.
Mike and Ann Ciresi