In an election year that is seeing a glut of candidates drooling over the prospect of becoming Minnesota's next governor, there are other, less headline-garnering seats in Minnesota that are wide open - as in no one has stepped forward to run yet.
Take Senate District 21, where 30-year veteran Republican Dennis Frederickson has already announced he is retiring at the end of the year. Both parties are scrambling to find someone to step up and run. Looks like a good opportunity for either party to win the seat, yet, no takers.
Is it fingernail biting time yet? Well, the deadline for filing for office is June 1, which was moved up by an elections law passed by the Legislature earlier this year. In the past, the deadline was in the middle of July. Figures. The year the filing deadline is moved up turns out to be the year of no candidates at least so far.
SD 21 Republicans will endorse their candidate on Saturday, May 15, in Wanda, along with candidates for House 21A and 21B.
"It's not crunch time yet," said David Sturrock, SD 21 Republican Party chairman. "We have a half-dozen people looking at the race. Some have looked at it and decided not to run. But we have some excellent possibilities and we know we'll have a strong candidate emerge on May 15."
Sturrock squelched rumors that gubernatorial Republican candidate Marty Seifert will run for anything other than governor this year, saying Seifert has made it "very clear he will not seek any office other than governor."
There are other districts across Minnesota that are in a similar situation, and the lack of candidates doesn't paint a pretty picture, especially for voters. Voters deserve a choice. Voters need to be able to compare challengers and incumbents so they can make an informed decision. In SD 21, there is neither. Districts with incumbents need challengers. Without a challenger, there is no choice. But the prospect of that happening in some areas of Minnesota is growing with every day that passes.
"It's getting to the point where people have to decide what they're doing," Sturrock said. "There's still time for people to get into the race, but a serious candidate has to make a decision quickly and start talking to delegates, build a team. Now is a prime time to do that."
Primetime or crunchtime, any potential candidate would be wise to make a decision in the next week or two - for their sake as well as ours.