Rep. Tony Cornish drew a crowd of reporters Wednesday at the Capitol to announce — drum roll, please — he’s not going to run for the U.S. Congress.
Last fall, Cornish had people speculating that he would run against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in 2016. He admitted he’d been “interested, but the more I thought about it, the more I started to think about how wonderful I have it here.”
Cornish, who is nothing if not colorful, was relatively toned down for the announcement. A man who tends to favor wide pinstripes and leather vests was wearing a tan suit. He was also unarmed. That’s not often the case with Cornish, the leading advocate for all things guns. Additionally, he was wearing only two lapel pins: one of handcuffs and one of a taser.
“I couldn’t find my assault rifle [lapel pin] this morning,” Cornish said.
Cornish hasn’t said that he’ll absolutely seek an eighth term in the Legislature, but made it clear that he loves being at the capitol. What’s not to love?
“I’m sitting in the front row [of the House chamber], I’m close to the coffee, the bathroom and the House speaker,” he said. Beyond that, he noted that he comes from a super safe district. He noted that he’s been unopposed in his last two races.
Cornish said that running for Congress would involve things he deplores. There’d be trackers following him wherever he goes. He’d have to be constantly “begging” for money.
“I’ve never called anybody and asked for money,” Cornish said, adding that he does his fundraising through mail only.
Still, Cornish said, there were temptations to run against Walz, who remains extremely popular with DFLers because he has shown the party it can win in moderate to conservative districts.
“The same people who support him, would have supported me,” said Cornish, referring to the NRA crowd that approves of Walz’s voting record.
Beyond that, he said there’s rumblings that Walz is considering a run for governor in 2016, meaning it would be an open seat which clearly would increase GOP chances of winning.
Looking at the crowd of reporters around him, Cornish laughingly said, “I haven’t had this much fun since I announced guns on campus.”