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Karin Housley conceding her Senate race in 2018. Photo: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Former U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley is the latest Republican to acknowledge she's considering a run against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz next year.

What she's saying: "We're talking about it," Housley, a state senator from St. Mary's Point, confirmed to Axios. "We haven't completely ruled it out."

  • Flashback: Housley lost her 2018 Senate bid by 11 points to now-U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D).

The big picture: Axios also checked in with other GOPers speculated to be considering jumping in ...

  • State Senate Leader Paul Gazelka won't make a final decision until the state budget is done: “Ask me in the summer."
  • Former Sen. Scott Jensen is "strongly considering" it and expects to decide in the next three months.
  • U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber told WCCO he's focused on Congress but "keeping all options open." His campaign said that's still the case.
  • Former Viking Matt Birk, said to be considering a run more seriously than in years past, declined to comment.
  • MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell won't decide until his fight to prove his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud is resolved.

Wild card: Some speculate that state Sen. Tom Bakk, a former DFL leader who left the party, could run as an independent. But the Iron Ranger says he's not even sure if he'll run for Senate again.

  • "Who knows?" Bakk told Torey, adding that undergoing open heart surgery, as he did last year, "makes you think about how long you want to keep working."
  • But Bakk, who ran in the 2010 DFL primary, thinks there's a path for someone to run as an independent.
  • "All of this really tough rhetoric, both sides retreating to the base, is leaving a pretty gaping hole for someone that wants to try running down the middle."

Worth noting: While he's expected to run for a second term, Walz hasn't announced a re-election bid. He told Torey he's focused on the pandemic and will make his decision later.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

The mad dash for COVID vaccines among Minnesota seniors

Data: Minnesota Department of Health; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Minnesota's system for scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for citizens 65 and older again saw extraordinary demand this week.

By the numbers: More than 226,000 seniors entered the lottery for one of just 9,425 doses available at state pilot sites this week, MDH told Axios.

Jan 29, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

A sneak peek inside Minnesota's only 5-star hotel

This rendering shows what the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Minneapolis will look like. Photo: Smallwood Architects

Developer United Properties shared this not-yet-publicized rendering of the Four Seasons lobby in downtown Minneapolis with Axios.

The state of play: The 222-room hotel — which will be Minnesota's only five-star property — is part of the 37-story RBC Gateway Tower office-retail-condo project at Nicollet and Washington, the largest current development in the Twin Cities at a cost north of $400 million. It's set to open in 2022.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.