MADISON LAKE - Former Sen. Al DeKruif, of Madison Lake, has announced his withdrawal from the Republican race to challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Walz for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.
DeKruif said he believes Republicans have a very strong chance of winning the 1st District in 2014, but he is too busy with work on his resort to run. He wants to step out of the way to give other Republicans the best chance of having an effective campaign. He will offer support for the candidate that becomes Walz's opponent.
However, he is still reserving the ability to get back into the race if the field ends up being too weak. Such a decision would depend on how the race develops. He would also be open to running in a future election.
DeKruif's announcement helps whittle down the pool of potential Republican candidates. Only Rep. Mike Benson (R-Rochester) has officially announced his candidacy. Other media sources have indicated Byron veteran Aaron Miller could announce his candidacy on Tuesday.
Former Sen. Mike Parry, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2012 Republican primary for the 1st District, and Jim Hagedorn, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2010 Republican endorsement convention, are still weighing their options. Parry is also considering a run for Minnesota's Secretary of State or for governor.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)