Pederson exits race to replace Bachmann

WASHINGTON - The race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the 6th District got slightly less crowded Friday when state Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, announced that he is ending his campaign for the Republican nomination.

Pederson cited a full time work schedule for him and his wife that's made it tough to balance family commitments with campaigning.

"The bottom line is the schedule that the campaign demands is something that we weren't willing to be able to invest in at this time," said Pederson in an interview.

Pederson's decision leaves three Republicans -- former state Rep. Tom Emmer, former state representative and Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie, and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah -- vying for the GOP endorsement in the state's most reliably conservative congressional district.  DFLer James Read is also running.

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Pederson said he had not yet decided whether he would throw his support behind another Republican candidate.

He said he was happy with his campaign's fundraising and that financial concerns did not affect his decision.

As of Sept. 30, the last federal filing deadline, Pederson had raised the least of all the other Republican candidates, $86,000.

Emmer, a former gubernatorial candidate, led the pack with $373,000 in donations. Krinkie's campaign brought in $338,000 but that sum includes a $300,000 loan from Krinkie. Sivarajah raised $200,000, though $150,000 was a personal loan.