Apr 22, 2024 - Politics

Joe Teirab changes his tune, vows to stay in GOP primary for suburban Minnesota House seat

Joe Teirab and Tayler Rahm

Joe Teirab, left, and Tayler Rahm are competing for the GOP nod. Photos: Courtesy of Joe Teirab for Congress and Tayler Rahm for Congress

One of two leading Republicans running in Minnesota's most competitive congressional district now says he'll stay in the race β€” regardless of whether he wins the state party's endorsement next weekend.

Why it matters: The reversal by former federal prosecutor Joe Teirab increases the likelihood that the GOP's pick to challenge DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig will be decided in an August primary.

  • The move will prolong a potentially costly intraparty battle in a district Republicans are hoping to flip this November.

State of play: Teirab and attorney Tayler Rahm are locked in a heated race for the support of GOP delegates in the suburban Twin Cities district.

  • Both had previously pledged to abide by the endorsement and drop out if they failed to secure the party's stamp of approval β€” as is common in Minnesota politics.

Yes, but: In an email to supporters, Teirab says concerns about Rahm's criminal defense work and dismal fundraising numbers prompted him to reverse course.

  • "We can't delude ourselves into thinking this race can be won without the necessary resources, nor that money will magically appear in anyone's war chest post-endorsement," he said.

Follow the money: As Axios reported last week, Teirab ended March with more than $660,000 to spend on his bid, compared to Rahm's $59,500.

  • Craig, a three-term incumbent who flipped the seat to DFL control in 2018, has $2.8 million in the bank.

The other side: Rahm, who has won every straw poll held by local GOP groups this cycle, accused Teirab of engaging in "dishonest and self-serving tactics." He dismissed his rival's claims about his own record as "baseless."

  • "His decision to run a primary isn't about the issues he claims," Rahm said in a statement. "It's because he knows he will lose the endorsement."

The intrigue: While GOP Majority Whip Tom Emmer hasn't formally endorsed in the race, Teirab's campaign has hired one of Emmer's former advisers and his Minnesota-based fundraiser.

What's next: 2nd Congressional District Republicans will gather in Lakeville on Saturday to make their pick.

  • The primary election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
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