Ritchie won’t run for 3rd term as MN SOS

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced today he will not seek a third term. The DFLer was first elected in 2006, defeating conservative firebrand Mary Kiffmeyer, and oversaw the closely-watched U.S. Senate recount of 2008 and governor recount of 2010, shortly after his own re-election.

Last year he was an outspoken opponent of the constitutional amendment that would have effectively ended same-day voter registration. 
The recounts were controversial because power was at stake, but I wouldn’t describe Ritchie’s conduct as remotely partisan. Instead, the 2008 recount was contrasted with Florida’s 2000 debacle in a very positive light. His position on the voting amendment was political, sure, and many might have disagreed, but his argument was grounded on the simple idea that we should allow as many legal voters as possible to vote, and we shouldn’t turn legal voters away out of paranoia. Minnesota’s storied voter turnout continued to break national records during his time in office.
I covered a speech by Ritchie in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2009.

What his departure means is a little bit of political intrigue in what was otherwise going to be a straightforward 2014 election. Secretary of State is a constitutional office; in other words, this is one of the only ways a candidate can get their name on a statewide ballot without raising a ton of money. So we could see an interesting race in both parties with candidates who – sure – would like to be good stewards of the voting process, but also wouldn’t mind being mentioned as a 2018 candidate for governor or other higher office.

Who do you think could run?

UPDATE: Well, we have our first candidate, and it looks like someone who knew this was coming. SOS administrator Rachel Larson Bohman announced her campaign as a DFLer. She current works for Ritchie, but also worked for Kiffmeyer and Joan Growe before that. Her quick entry appears designed to limit the number of other candidates, but I think there is a lot of pent-up energy by DFLers to run for office, and this is the only show in town.

UPDATE II: Twitter is telling me that Rep. Joyce Peppin and Sen. Warren Limmer are among those considering a GOP run. David Brauer is floating the super fun concept of a Dan McGrath (a GOP operative) vs. Dan McGrath (a DFL operative) race, though I think that one remains a mere fantasy. I see a huge window for a greater Minnesota DFLer.

UPDATE III: Oh snap. Should have seen this one. Former State. Rep. Jeremy Kalin announces his run for the DFL nomination. Won twice in central MN swing district and is now doing fancy city stuff. Could be interesting. But I doubt he’s the last.

UPDATE IV: I moved my candidate list over to its own post.

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