Keith Downey, former MN GOP chairman, drops out of governor’s race

Former Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey today pulled the plug on his campaign for governor, saying he could not “see a path to victory” after former Gov. Tim Pawlenty joined the race this month.

Downey, a former state representative from Edina, said in a letter to supporters he believed he had the right message. “But the opportunity for me to win in November has closed,” he wrote.

Keith Downey (Courtesy of the candidate)

When Pawlenty entered the race, “the landscape changed dramatically,” he said.

The former governor raised more than $1 million for his campaign less than a month announcing he’d seek a third term.

Downey reported raising $182,338 this year, placing him third in the GOP money contest behind Pawlenty and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson.

Downey finished second in a straw poll at the Republican precinct caucuses Feb. 6 with 15 percent of the vote. Johnson won the straw poll (45 percent) and was considered the frontrunner for the GOP endorsement until Pawlenty entered the race.

Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens and teacher Phillip Parrish are also seeking the Republican endorsement for governor.

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