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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Strib on Joe Repya Challenge to Norm Coleman

Outgoing reporter Conrad Defiebre writes the article.

Saying his failed bid to become state Republican chairman nevertheless showed dissatisfaction in the party ranks, Iraq war veteran Joe Repya said Wednesday that he is considering a 2008 reelection challenge to fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.

"I've received numerous calls and have been approached by a number of people who have asked me to consider running," Repya said in a prepared statement. Over the next two months, he added, "I am going to sit down with conservative grass-roots people throughout the state and assess if that is a viable option."

He said he has four speaking engagements around Minnesota in the coming weeks and expects to line up more following a week of fishing in the Brainerd lakes area.

Repya, 61, of Eagan, was an adviser to Coleman during the latter's victorious 2002 campaign for the U.S. Senate. Repya wouldn't specify any complaints about Coleman's performance in the office, but touted his own credentials as a "Reagan Republican" who favors smaller, less intrusive government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, personal responsibility and traditional family values.

He also called himself a "political nobody" who after a seven-week campaign as "GOP Joe" gained 43 percent of the vote of the state Republican Central Committee on Saturday in a losing effort to unseat state party chairman Ron Carey.

"Joe's been a friend," said Coleman campaign spokesman Cullen Sheehan, who declined to comment further because Repya hasn't yet entered the race.

Coleman, a former DFLer who switched parties while serving as mayor of St. Paul, began his Senate term as a reliable supporter of President Bush but recently has edged away from him on more votes, including a move for a no-confidence resolution on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

This will all be interesting. I'll catch up with Joe Repya after he's done some of these speaking engagements to see where he is at.