Seifert joins GOP race for Governor

MARSHALL – Months of successful fundraising for a new cancer center in Marshall behind him, former state Rep. Marty Seifert announced Thursday he will seek the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2014.

Seifert made the expected announcement at City Hall in downtown Marshall with his wife Traci and children Brittany and Braxton by his side.

Marshall was the first stop of a 13-city tour for Seifert. He plans to be at the Happy Chef in North Mankato at 4 p.m.

“I think the people of Minnesota want to see a candidate as much as possible, which is why we’re going to 13 cities,” Seifert said. “We’ll be hustling around a lot and my family and I are ready for it; this isn’t our first time in the rodeo. We know what we’re getting into.”

This will be Seifert’s second run at the GOP nomination – he lost to Tom Emmer in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. That year, Emmer, who was ultimately defeated by Mark Dayton by fewer than 9,000 votes, carried a game-changing advantage in the metro area, and on the second ballot was able to pull away from Seifert, who eventually withdrew from the race. Seifert, however, has recently expressed his confidence in his ability to improve his standing in that area as a rural candidate in 2014.

Seifert said the last time he ran for the GOP nod he was the first to declare his candidacy, so he’s not worried about playing catch-up to the other candidates.

“I was the first candidate in the race, and that didn’t work out all that well,” he joked. “Hopefully this time it will turn out better.”

Seifert served the House of Representatives in District 21A (now District 16A) from 1997-2010. He was Majority Whip from 1999-2006 and became Minority Leader in 2007, a post he relinquished to focus on the 2010 governor’s race.

During his time in the private sector, Seifert has been working as the executive director of the Avera Marshall Foundation and helped spearhead the Building Hope Campaign to raise money for Avera’s new cancer institute. Seifert will take on a part-time role with Avera and will be phased out of his role at the hospital in December.

Seifert recently told the Independent he was encouraged by an October straw poll taken at the Minnesota Republican party’s state central committee in which, as a write-in candidate, he polled ahead of previously-declared candidates state Rep. Kurt Zellers (18 percent to 7.6 percent), Hibbing teacher Rob Farnsworth (6 percent) and businessman Scott Honour (4 percent). Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson came out on top among the 409 delegates who cast votes with 35 percent, followed by Sen. Dave Thompson at 27 percent.

Seifert said not being a current legislator will work as more of an asset to his campaign than a liability and that he has a good blend of public and private sector experience.

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