Steve Hensley at the Real Capitol View floated an intriguing possibility.
On Friday night, retiring State Representative John Kriesel lit up his large following on Facebook when he posted a photo showing a Kriesel for Governor logo.If Kriesel does indeed run and somehow emerges as the endorsed candidate of the MN GOP (the party which actually honors the endorsement process) in 2014, I will support him 100%. Defeating Mark Dayton is the absolute top priority. On the surface, Kriesel would have some significant statewide appeal. To those who have become quite weary with the perceived lack of conviction amongst politicians, Kriesel is a welcome change given his distaste for political expediency. Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin pretty well summed it up when he described Kriesel as "the only representative in the Minnesota Legislature who believes two men should be able to marry each other AND shoot someone who trespasses on their property." Kriesel was also perhaps the most outspoken Minnesota Republican in favor of a Vikings stadium bill, which passed in May. With an occasional willingness to strongly divert from the majority of his caucus, Kriesel has become a media darling amongst the Lori Sturdevant crowd.
According to his post, Kriesel received a text message from a friend asking if he was going to run for governor after the friend saw the logo on a different Facebook wall.
As of Monday morning the post had 301 “likes” and 114 comments.
Rather than thanking friends for the encouragement or shutting down any speculation immediately, Kriesel ended the post with a simple question: “What do you think?”
When contacted by the Real Capitol View, the Cottage Grove resident wasn’t willing to close the door on running.
“I would never rule out a run for governor, and the encouragement and support that I’ve received has been flattering, but I absolutely love my new job working for Anoka County Veterans Services and I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time with my wife and sons now that I’m out of politics,” said Kriesel.
He added, “I chose not to seek relection to the Minnesota House of Representatives so I could spend more time with my family. A 2014 gubernatorial run would take away from that.”
Alas, if Kriesel is indeed the Republican to challenge Dayton in 2014, he will learn the same lesson fellow war hero John McCain learned when he became to GOP nominee for President in 2008: you're a media favorite until you're in a position to defeat one of their beloved Democrats.
My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg sums it up best in a section of the irrefutable "Berg's Laws."
Berg’s Eleventh Law of Inverse Viability: The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.
The McCain Corollary To Berg’s Eleventh Law: If that respected conservative ever develops a chance of getting elected, that “respect” will turn to blind unreasoning hatred overnight.
The Huckabee Corollary the McCain Corolloary To Berg’s Eleventh Law: The Republican that the media covers most intensively before the nomination for any office will be the one that the liberals know they have the best chance of beating after the nomination, and/or will most harm the GOP if nominated.
In the end, it's the MN Republican party activists who will hash out which GOP candidate will represent the party in the gubernatorial race. I have a difficult time believing a candidate who alienated social conservatives (though endeared himself to libertarians) by voting "no" on the marriage amendment and rankled fiscal conservatives when voting "yes" for a Vikings stadium would be the party favorite. But if he somehow gets to the general election, I doubt the media would cover for Kriesel when it comes to a couple of his highly publicized verbal battles. Kriesel's ability to handle criticism (fairly or unfairly) might be called in to question in light of his spat with fellow Republican legislator Mary Kiffmeyer as well as his back and forth with a MN Senate staffer, which eventually lead to the staffer's firing.
As someone who has been a delegate to the past two state conventions, I'll just say I'm willing to keep my options open.