There is one fewer Republican candidate for Minnesota governor after state Sen. Dave Osmek ended his campaign on Monday.
Osmek, of Mound, said he decided to suspend his campaign for the party's endorsement this year after discussing the race with family, friends and supporters over the holidays.
He cited a poor straw ballot showing at an early December Republican State Central Committee meeting, where state Rep. Matt Dean scored the win and Osmek finished a distant fifth. Osmek said the party needs to unite behind a strong candidate.
"As I said when I announced my campaign, I will fully support the Republican endorsed candidate for governor and I would encourage all the other Republican candidates who aren't getting traction with GOP activists to also withdraw so that we can present a united front to the liberal candidates in the DFL," Osmek said.
It's a wide-open race because DFL Gov. Mark Dayton isn't seeking a third term. In a month, party activists will begin the process of choosing delegates to the state conventions during precinct caucuses, where another straw poll will be taken.
Osmek is in his second term and represents a west-suburban district. That term runs through 2020.