Susan Gaertner drops out of Minnesota gubernatorial race

Gaertner said she didn’t want to interfere with Kelliher’s bid.

James Nord

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner dropped out of the governorâÄôs race Monday, two days after the DFL formally endorsed a candidate. Gaertner said in a letter to supporters that she didnâÄôt want to interfere with Rep. Margaret Anderson KelliherâÄôs bid. âÄúThis is the closest Minnesota has yet to come to electing a female governor,âÄù Gaertner said at a Capitol news conference. âÄúThat would be history-making.âÄù Kelliher said she was surprised by GaertnerâÄôs decision to bow out of the race, calling her a âÄústrong competitor.âÄù Kelliher, speaker of the House of Representatives, received the DFLâÄôs endorsement for the office Saturday. Gaertner, however, declined to endorse Kelliher outright. Despite the partyâÄôs endorsement of Kelliher, political scientist Dan Hofrenning of St. Olaf College said GaertnerâÄôs exit doesnâÄôt transform the race because she had been fairly low-profile. With three big names left and traditionally low voter turnout in primaries, anyone could claim victory with a relatively small share of the vote. âÄúThereâÄôs a lot of wild cards in the air,âÄù Hofrenning said. The remaining candidates, in addition to Kelliher, are former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and former state Rep. Matt Entenza. Neither of the men took part in SaturdayâÄôs endorsement process. Both are hoping to secure the partyâÄôs nomination in the August primary, which was also GaertnerâÄôs goal prior to her departure. Gaertner also cited concerns she would be outfunded by the other candidates as a reason for dropping out, according to her letter. Gaertner, a University of Minnesota graduate who has served as Ramsey County attorney since her election in 1994, is perhaps best known for her prosecution of the RNC 8. Although her bid ended, Gaertner said in her letter she had no regrets. âÄúI ran because I believe at this difficult time in MinnesotaâÄôs history my leadership and values would have been good for all Minnesotans, including the least among us.âÄù -The Associated Press contributed to this report.