Penny: I really thought until just a few days ago that I had psyched up for this in every way and I was ready to move. And yet I got that knot in my stomach that told me something wasn't quite right and so here we are.Penny says his decision had nothing to do with recent criticism from DFL candidates Michael Ciresi and David Lillehaug that his voting record was nearly as conservative as Rod Grams'. He says he's also convinced that he could have won had he entered the race.
Penny: I think it was very much do-able to construct a statewide campaign that would have carried the day in November. That was a big piece of why it surprised me that when it came time to announce and get this campaign underway, that I couldn't do it.Penny had served as an top advisor to Jesse Ventura during the governor's transition, and Ventura tried to convince Penny to run as a third-party candidate. While some may still try to do that, the governor seems to be taking Penny's decision at face value.
Ventura: As far as in the public sector go it's a huge loss because, you know, Tim Penny would do an outstanding job, but certainly I respect his decision; and it's a decision that everyone has to make as far as their personal life goes. You know personal and family life always come first in my opinion.The other DFL candidates scrambled to say nice things about Penny, agreeing he would have been a formidable opponent, and asking his supporters to consider joining them.
Kelley: I think there's a real opportunity for the Democrats to come together in June and build the resources to run a really effective campaign against Senator Grams in the fall and not be divided through the summer until the September primary.Candidate Steve Miles agrees with Kelley that the endorsement becomes even more important. Ciresi says Penny's decision won't have much of an impact on his decision to run in the primary, but he says Penny supporters shouldn't think he was attacking Penny.
Ciresi: I didn't put out literature critical, I put out literature that stated what his votes were. If he takes that as critical or his supporters do, so be it. I think that's part of the stimulating debate that Tim and I would have had.Ciresi says he now expects the primary campaign to be a two-person race with the endorsed DFL candidate, even though a spokesman for Rebecca Yanisch says she hasn't decided yet whether she'll abide by the endorsement. The sixth candidate in the race, State Senator Jerry Janezich says he will abide by the endorsement.
Evans: Obviously before Tim dropped out we weren't acknowledging it publicly but certainly Tim was seen as our strongest competition, and when your strongest competition decides to get out of the race, you've got to see that as good news.Evans says Republicans are confident the DFL will endorse a candidate who is more liberal than most Minnesotans. He says that will play to Grams advantage in November.