In a somewhat surprising move, wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi on Monday dropped out of the Minnesota Senate race in which he faced anti-war activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and comedian Al Franken for the Democratic nomination.
“In my judgment, continuing the endorsement race would only lead to an unnecessary floor fight,” Ciresi said in a statement.“It is time to step aside.”
Franken had been the frontrunner for months despite Ciresi tossing some of his own funds into his campaign, and now seems even more likely to emerge as the nominee.
All three candidates were competing for their party’s endorsement, a designation that will likely be decided in early June at the state convention. State party delegates plan to endorse either Franken or Nelson-Pallmeyer at the convention and both candidates have promised to abide by the party’s endorsement and not force a September primary.
The winner will face Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in November.
“Mike Ciresi’s exit from the race only ensures that the [Democratic-Farmer-Labor] Party will likely endorse one of the most extreme and radical candidates for public office in years,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Rebecca Fischer. “Al Franken should hurry back from cleaning up the mess he made in New York City to try to convince Minnesota voters he isn’t out-of-touch.”
— Shira Toeplitz