ST. PETER - Jeff Thom, founder and CEO of All American Foods in North Mankato, announced Wednesday he was dropping out as a possible candidate for the Minnesota House District 19A race.
Thom announced last Sunday that he was considering entering the race as a candidate for the Independence Party. He said he did not feel he could commit the full amount of focus needed for the race.
"Frankly, my heart isn't in it. I disappointed quite a few friends, but they also know me. I'm just not willing to do anything I won't be giving 100 percent at," said Thom.
Thom did not rule out running for a political position in the future. He said he was simply not going to run for this seat in this particular election.
Meanwhile, Karl Johnson officially announced his candidacy for the 19A district. The former president of the National Pork Producers Council and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association will seek the DFL endorsement.
In his official press release, Johnson said his major issues would be completion of four-lane expansions for Hwy 14 and property tax relief.
The departure of Thom and the announcement by Johnson brings the number of potential candidates in the 19A race to four: Johnson and Mankato teacher Robin Courrier will be competing for the DFL endorsement, area businessman Tim Gieseke as the only announced Independence Party candidate and Allen Quist as the only announced potential Republican candidate.
The 19A seat was vacated in December when Rep. Terry Morrow (DFL-St. Peter) announced his resignation to take a job in Chicago. A special election must be held within 40 days of Jan. 7, the official resignation day for Morrow. As of Wednesday night, Gov. Mark Dayton has not yet announced the date the election will take place.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)