Housley mulls gubernatorial run in 2014

Local first-term state senator receiving GOP support


T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol Reporter

Sen. Karin Housley is thinking about it. She will make the decision by early next year, she said, whether she intends to run for governor.


“I thought my family would put the kibosh on it right away, and they haven’t,” Housley, first-term Republican from St. Mary’s Point, said.

A businesswoman and radio personality, Housley would join businessman Scott Honour, state Sen. Dave Thompson, state Rep. Kurt Zellers, and former Rep. Marty Seifert in the Republican gubernatorial scramble. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, has been seen as another possible Republican contender.

Housley, 49, won election in Senate District 39 by only 631 votes. Her campaign headquarters was in Forest Lake, and she carried the city by 1,124 votes over DFL candidate Julie Bunn.

The mother of four and wife of former National Hockey League player Phil Housley said she did not run for Senate with an eye toward the Governor’s Office. Exactly the opposite, Housley said: She had no interest at all. Even short months ago, if asked about running for governor, she would have said the same thing, she noted.

But over past weeks Housley has received encouragement from fellow Republicans to run for governor. While in Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday, she visited with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn to discuss the idea.

Besides concerns about finding adequate campaign funds and the difficulties of running a statewide campaign, Housley views Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton a strong opponent for her or any other Republican. Given the name recognition Dayton enjoys in Minnesota, she considers the run for a Republican an “uphill battle,” but she said “It can be done.”

Housley serves on the Senate Commerce, E-12, and State and Local Government committees. She holds a B.A. in communications from State University of New York.