They just don’t feel safe states Sen. Gerlach

gerlach.jpgThey just don’t feel safe, said Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley.

Senate Republican leaders today (Nov. 29) called on Secretary of State
Mark Ritchie to step aside and let a deputy secretary oversee the
special election in Senate District 25.

Republicans argued that Ritchie, embroiled in a controversy over the
use of data in which Ritchie has reportedly given conflicting accounts,
should relinquish his authority over the special election.


by T.W. Budig
ECM capitol reporter

They just don’t feel safe, said Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley.

Senate Republican leaders today (Nov. 29) called on Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to step aside and let a deputy secretary oversee the special election in Senate District 25.

Republicans argued that Ritchie, embroiled in a controversy over the use of data in which Ritchie has reportedly given conflicting accounts, should relinquish his authority over the special election.

“We feel uncomfortable,” said Gerlach of Ritchie’s oversight.

“We do not have a good feeling,” he said.

Gerlach, Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee minority lead member, argued that while the data use issue is one thing, Ritchie’s conflicting comments about the use of e-mail addresses is something else.

“Whatever you think of the initial offense, the subsequent actions have been far worst,” said Gerlach.

Gathered Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester and Senate Assistant Minority Leader Betsy Wergin, R-Princeton, argued that the data use controversy brings into question Ritchie’s integrity as a public official.

“It’s not fun here today. It’s not fun to do this,” Senjem said.

Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez rejected the Republicans’ words about Ritchie, arguing their concerns were strategic and political.

“This maneuver stinks of political desperation,” he said in the hallway outside the press conference room.

Republicans are simply angling to get stories about embattled Lt. Gov./MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau off the front page of the newspapers, he argued.

“They’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” he said of Senate Republicans.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty called a special election for Jan. 3 in Senate District 25.

It was made necessary by the resignation of Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield, who the governor appointed a district court judge earlier this week.

Former Republican House member Ray Cox, of Northfield, has announced his intention to run for the open seat.

Mick McGuire, four-term mayor of the City of Montgomery, is seeking the Senate District 25 DFL Party endorsement.

So is Anne Bomstad Miller of Northfield.

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