Pieper’s decision means there will no longer be an endorsing fight at Saturday’s Senate District 28 DFL Convention in Rushford. Pieper was set to face off against Spring Grove School Board DFLer Thomas Trehus for the party’s endorsement in the House District 28B race. Instead, Pieper is expected to be the lone candidate vying for the Senate endorsement and Trehus will have a clear path to win the endorsement for his run against Preston Republican Rep. Greg Davids.
In an interview, Pieper said he began seriously considering a run for the Senate seat last week.
“One of the biggest reasons is we have two viable House candidates and no one was willing to stand up (to run) for the Senate,” he said.
Pieper, owner of Old Village Hall Restaurant, said he met with Senate DFL caucus leaders before deciding to run for the seat. He also met with Trehus to talk about his decision. He said he has asked Winona DFL Rep. Gene Pelowski to introduce him at Saturday’s endorsing convention.
In 2014, Pieper ran against Davids and lost by a vote of 56 percent to 44 percent.
Trehus welcomed news of Pieper’s decision to run for the Senate seat and vowed to support him.
“I think having a slate of Democrats run is a good thing. It’s not good to have an unopposed candidate,” Trehus said.
Looking ahead to the election, Pieper said he will be talking about the need to boost funding for K-12 schools — especially in greater Minnesota.
“Rural school districts are being penalized for being rural. We don’t get the funding that the Twin Cities school districts get,” he said.
Pieper also backs efforts to fund to rein in college tuition. He is concerned about the steep cuts in state aid to cities and counties since 2002. He said those cuts result in higher taxes for residents, business and farmers.
He'll be trying to unseat Miller, who won election to the Senate in 2010 after narrowly defeating Winona DFL Sen. Sharon Erickson Robes.
Pieper said he looks forward to teaming up with Trehus on the campaign trail adding, “I hope we both win.”