FAIRMONT - Fresh off his campaign announcement last week, gubernatorial hopeful Marty Seifert, a Republican from Marshall, was on the campaign trail Monday in Fairmont.
The former state House minority leader lost a similar bid in 2010, when nominee Tom Emmer was defeated by Gov. Mark Dayton.
In addition to Seifert, five other candidates are seeking the Republican nod to challenge Dayton. They are Rob Farnsworth, a teacher and candidate for Minnesota's 8th congressional district in 2010; Scott Honour, an investment banker; Jeff Johnson, Hennepin County commissioner and former state representative; Dave A. Thompson, state senator and former radio host; and Kurt Zellers, former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Seifert says he is "aggressively seeking" the party endorsement but may run in the primary, which is open to more voters. That ties into Seifert's belief that he can attract more moderates and Democrats, something he did in winning state House races in a district that supported Bill Clinton, Amy Klobuchar and Collin Peterson.
"What I say about the Republican Party is that we need to wake up and smell the math," he said.
Among other things, he is referring to the party's status of holding not a single statewide office, such as governor, senator or secretary of state. He also noted that Republicans do not control the state House or the Senate.
The party has to win something, Seifert argues, to offer a check on what otherwise will be far-left policies offered by Democrats.
He is offering a five-point plan for his campaign. It includes undoing tax hikes passed by the last Legislature. Overall, Seifert aims to reduce the tax and regulatory burden in the state by 7 percent. In addition, he touts reducing the size and scope of state government; making better choices in transportation funding; keeping sex offenders locked away; and working to keep the federal government out of Minnesota's historically top-quality education system.
Seifert, a former public school teacher, believes the state's schools can do better. He is worried about a much-shorter school day, especially in the metro area. But he does not want Minnesota to become part of the federal Common Core program.
On transportation, he chides lawmakers for proposing to spend billions of dollars on commuter rail routes that few will use and fewer seem to want. He believes highways will remain the preferred choice of Minnesotans. That's not to say he doesn't see waste. For example, he wonders how neighboring South Dakota is able to build a mile of highway for so much less.
Seifert, 41, and his wife, Traci, have two children.
His campaign website offers the following bio:
He was born April 23, 1972, in Springfield. He grew up as the youngest of six boys on a small family farm near Clements.
Seifert gained a bachelor's degree in political science from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1995, with a secondary teaching license. From 1995 to 1999, he taught civics, history, geography and law at Marshall Public Senior High School.
From 1999 to 2006, Seifert was an admissions counselor at Southwest Minnesota State University. With his wife, he is co-owner of Seifert Properties in Marshall and Redwood Falls.
From 1997 to 2011, Seifert served in the Minnesota House of Representatives representing Lyon, Redwood and Yellow Medicine Counties.
In 2010, Seifert retired from the House of Representatives. He obtained his real estate license and has chiefly been a buyer's agent for Real Estate Retrievers in Marshall. Seifert was also hired in 2010 to be executive director of the Avera Marshall Foundation.