Nienow loses GOP endorsement in 4th term bid

Updated 1:45 p.m. | Posted 8:44 a.m.

State Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, is contemplating his next step after losing the Republican endorsement contest for his Cambridge-area district during a local party convention Tuesday night.

Nienow said via Twitter that he "made no commitment either way" about whether he'd challenge endorsement victor Mark Koran in an August primary for the Senate District 32 seat. Koran is a sales manager running on a slogan he'd be a "common sense conservative" in St. Paul.

Nienow was first elected to the Senate in 2002 but was defeated four years later. He returned to the Legislature in a 2010 GOP wave and retained the seat two years later.

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But he has had trouble away from St. Paul, having declared bankruptcy in 2014 as the federal government pursued delinquent small business loans he took out.

Nienow must decide by May 31 if he will file to run in the Aug. 9 primary. He said Wednesday he has no timetable in mind for making a decision.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said he was at the convention Tuesday and backed Nienow. He didn't say who he would back in a primary, dismissing it as a hypothetical question.

"We think it's a district we're going to retain in the Republican column in the general election. We're not overly concerned about that," Hann told MPR News. "It's a good solid Republican district and they have a good Republican base of support up there for Republicans."

Republicans need a net gain of six seats in the 67-member chamber to retake control from Democrats.