Retired Lt. Col. Joe Repya (R) lost a race for the state Republican Party chairmanship last week, after which speculation began to percolate that he would challenge Coleman.
Yesterday, in a statement, Repya confirmed that he is mulling a run. He said he will travel around the state and talk to people about the viability of a bid during the next two months.
“I’ve received numerous calls and have been approached by a number of people who have asked me to consider running against Norm Coleman for U.S. Senate,” Repya said. “I am making no decisions at this time. I am going take 30 to 60 days to decide what my political future is going to be.”
In a brief phone interview with The Hill, Repya declined to comment further or offer his motivation for the potential challenge. Observers say he would likely challenge Coleman from the right.
Coleman has been one of the most centrist Republicans in the Senate this year, most recently voting with six other GOPers to bring a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to a vote.
Coleman’s campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, said, “Joe has been a friend,” but declined to comment further until Repya makes an announcement.
The Hill also quotes David Schultz:
David Schultz, a political expert at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., said Coleman is getting stronger now and suggested that a primary challenge from the right could actually help him burnish his centrist credentials.
Coleman is well ahead of his top two potential Democratic challengers, comedian Al Franken and attorney Mike Ciresi, in the most recent polling. He led both by more than 20 points in a Minnesota Public Radio poll last month.
But a Repya candidacy could force Coleman to spend resources that he otherwise would have spent in the general election, Schultz said.
“This is Norm Coleman’s race to lose,” Schultz said. “The Republicans are pretty united behind Coleman. They want this one statewide and nationally. [Repya’s] entry into the race makes what I think is a fairly certain victory at this point a little bit more complicated.”
Actually that's not the case. The Republican base has never trusted Coleman, so a challenge from the right will hurt him. Kevin Ecker is an example of one such Republican base activist who will be supporting a challenger to Coleman.
I’ve received an invitation to participate in a teleconference with you Tuesday evening. I thank you for the invitation to be able to share a fairly informal chat with you. Fortunately for you, I will be unable to attend due to work obligations since our customer is in town and I’ll be tied up babysitting meeting with them.
I say fortunately because I’m struggling to come up with questions I could ask you that don’t start with “Senator Dumbass, Are you fucking stupid?” and then ends with suggestions that I’m fairly certain are anatomically impossible, although I’m sure there are porn stars that have tried.
Actually it is a pity because it’s obvious that it is criticism you need to hear, as you appear blissfully unaware of how most of the public feels about immigration. Plus my participation would advance the field of four-letter words by leaps and bounds.
I know several people who are going to participate, and I’m sure they’ll fill me in. But I’m not sure any of them have the same finesse and style of conversation that I tend to use. I’ve been told my approach to verbal confrontation is akin to the Russians “Scorched Earth” policy, although I’m sure given the topic I could probably step it up to Nagasaki. So I’ve fairly certain my absence will be noticed.
So yes, while it’s a pity that I won’t be able to attend, I’m fairly certain it’s for the better. Mostly since I was hoping to put new siding on my house this summer, so I’m not sure I can afford bail right now.
Pissed off voter
P.S. - You can stop requesting money from me. The only time/money/etc I’m giving for the 2008 Senate race is likely to go to any primary challenger you might have.
UPDATE: Ecker reports on the Coleman teleconference here.