FAIRMONT - Republican Marty Seifert was traveling across southern Minnesota on Thursday, seeking support in a four-way race to challenge Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in November. Fairmont was one of his stops.
While Republicans at their state convention recently endorsed Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, it was clear ahead of time that the GOP race for governor was unsettled. Two other candidates, Kurt Zellers - a member of the state House of Representatives - and businessman Scott Honour, did not seek the endorsement. They will join Johnson and Seifert in the Aug. 12 primary.
On Thursday, Seifert was touting his broad range of experiences, including growing up on a farm, working as a school teacher, as the owner of a small business and as a former state lawmaker. He also made clear that he does not consider Fairmont (and rural Minnesota) to be "flyover" country, a jab at other candidates who have been concentrating their campaigns elsewhere. He noted that his three Republican opponents live within miles of each other in the metro area.
Seifert says he does not dismiss the endorsement process. Rather, he finds it peculiar that he has been the top choice of Minnesota GOP caucus-goers in 2010 and 2014, but has not received the endorsement of the party. He says that when people vote in private and close to home, he fares better. He hopes for similar results in the primary.
Ultimately, he wants to challenge Dayton's record, despite what the governor may say about Minnesota having a balanced budget and an improving economy.
"What is going well in Minnesota now is despite [Dayton's] policies, not because of his policies," Seifert said.
While the state budget may be balanced, he says middle class families are seeing higher health insurance costs, their incomes falling, taxes rising and their local schools struggling with expenses. Seifert said business too is struggling, and the state's roads and bridges are deteriorating.
Seifert has offered 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, 41, and his wife, Traci, have two children.
His campaign website offers the following bio:
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.
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.