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Rep. Mike Beard suddenly finds need to spend more time with family

by Eric Ferguson on March 19, 2014 · 2 comments

State Rep. Mike Beard, R-55A, just announced he won’t run for reelection this year. If you’re wondering about “Minnesota’s Most Distinguished House Member”, that announcement comes from his county GOP. He’s leaving and his local party says something nice about him on the way out, so, fine. A bit more striking was this bit, “As a ‘Citizen Legislator’ in the Minnesota House, Beard’s decision not to seek another term was quite simple. He wants to devote more time to his wife, Karen, his children, and to his growing family of grandchildren.”
It’s a cliche that politicians retiring or resigning cite a desire to spend more time with family, whatever the real cause. When it’s sudden, at a weird time, usually something bad is going on. That’s more obvious when bad news has broken already. “What about that recording of you taking a bribe?” “Can’t take questions now, just want to announce that I’m stepping down to spend more time with family, much of which will be devoted to avoiding discussion of bribery allegations.” Not to say it’s never real, but the real ones usually have a detail, like a family member has a debilitating condition and the politician is going to be a full-time caregiver. So Beard’s grandchildren suddenly need him to leave the legislature? He can finish the term, but then the need for babysitting becomes that urgent? Um, OK, sure. But how weird Beard announced it now, when the 55A endorsing convention was Feb. 22nd. Didn’t Beard already have grandchildren when he knew the caucuses and convention were coming up? When the Scott County GOP got done sending out the announcement, I imagine they engaged in some fully justified cursing.
Oh well, more time with family, sure. I guess if Beard doesn’t run for anything else, I don’t care to do any digging. I’m more interested in whether this suddenly open seat is winnable. Beard won in 2012 55-45. Mitt Romney won 52-46. However, DFLer Kathy Busch won the State Senate seat 51-48, and Amy Klobuchar won 60-35. Becky Kelso once held a House seat in the same area as 55A, so this is a red district, but a purplish red. The 55A DFL already endorsed Jay Whiting, a member of the Shakopee City Council. His race just got a bit more winnable, given that open seats are usually easier than trying to defeat incumbents. Unless there’s a scandal. No scandal here though. Just a sudden overwhelming general need to spend more time with family.

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