Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Kleis to run for mayor

It’s official, Sen. Dave Kleis will enter the race for Mayor of St. Cloud this afternoon. He will be challenging John Ellenbecker, a Democrat rumored to have his eyes on Rep. Mark Kennedy’s seat.

Sen. Dave Kleis said this afternoon he is running for mayor, setting a challenge to incumbent John Ellenbecker.

Kleis, 41, said he made his decision today after getting lots of phone calls from people urging him to get in the race. Kleis said he plans to file at 4 p.m. today.

Kleis, a Republican, has been in the Senate since 1994 and he defeated Ellenbecker, a Democrat, in 1996 for re-election.

Ellenbecker, 49, announced June 30 and filed Monday. He was elected in 2001 after serving 12 years in the City Council.

Filings close at 5 p.m. today. He has a law practice in St. Cloud.

Kleis runs a driving school and is a St. Cloud State University graduate who grew up in Litchfield.

The Legislature adjourned Wednesday after a seven-week special session. Kleis said he has been thinking about running since then. “I’m convinced I can serve the city of St. Cloud as its mayor,” Kleis said.

A third candidate, Graham Jones, filed Tuesday afternoon. City Clerk Gregg Engdahl said Jones indicated he would drop out if Kleis entered the race.

Efforts to reach Jones Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Fred Schmidt, a plumber who ran for mayor in 2001, said he entered the City Council race when he heard Kleis was running instead of giving mayor another try.

(Source: “Kleis enters St. Cloud mayoral race,” St. Cloud Times, July 19, 2005)

I wish Sen. Kleis the best of luck.

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