Second thoughts? Some MN candidates withdraw after sign-up storm

Mike Hatch files to run for attorney general.
Mike Hatch files to run for attorney general, Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
Briana Bierschbach | MPR News

Updated 5:20 p.m. | Posted 3:52 p.m.

Minnesota saw a rush of political candidates file for office at Tuesday's deadline. Now, there's a new urgency for some to get off the ballot.

Candidates had a 48-hour window to withdraw following Tuesday's filing deadline. With that Thursday 5 p.m. deadline approaching, the field of candidates in some closely watched Minnesota races is shrinking.

Kim Ellison was one of those to take her name off the list. She is a Minneapolis school board member who had filed for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by her ex-husband DFL Rep. Keith Ellison. He's running for attorney general.

Her departure still leaves several DFLers in the congressional race heading into an August primary. On Wednesday, ex-Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch took himself out of contention to take back his old job, saying he was satisfied by the quality of others who are seeking the job.

DFLer Jon Tollefson pulled out of the MN state auditor's race where Julie Blaha was the party's endorsed candidate. Tollefson had filed against her this week after the two vied for party backing at the convention in Rochester, Minn.

Some legislative candidates from both parties also dropped out, averting primaries in key districts.

Former DFL state Sen. Julie Sabo, the daughter of former U.S. House Rep. Martin Sabo, waited until the very last minute to enter the race Tuesday for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, the seat once held by her father.

On Thursday, she pulled up outside the State Office Building at 4:59 p.m. and turned on her car's flashers as she raced in to beat the withdrawal deadline.

"This all happened so fast that I thought, 'I'm going to file and give myself some time to think about it and talk to people,'" Sabo said. "Ultimately I had to just weigh where my life is at right now and the reality of getting a campaign up and going. It all comes down to practicality sometimes."

Her cell phone rang. It was Sabo's husband, who she didn't have a chance to consult before entering the race and who wanted to make sure she got out in time.

"It was all very, very rushed," she said.

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