ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad said Friday he's attended brainstorming sessions about a possible run for Minnesota governor, although he's not ready to jump into the wide-open race.
Ramstad, a prolific fundraiser with a moderate reputation, won't give a timetable for making a decision and indicated an announcement either way wouldn't come soon.
"It's way too early. People need a rest. People need a breather," he said in comments to reporters after addressing a League of Minnesota Cities conference.
Ramstad retired from Congress in January after 16 years. He said he's weighing whether he wants "to give up a relatively normal life that I've reclaimed to get back into the fray."
Both the Democratic and Republican parties expect fierce competition for their respective nominations. Incumbent GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty ruled out a run for a third term.
Ramstad affirmed his status as a Republican, despite speculation he is being courted to run as an independent. He called himself a "progressive Republican" in the mold of Elmer Anderson, Al Quie and Arne Carlson, three prior Republican governors.
In his speech to the League of Minnesota Cities, he accused both parties of worrying more about their political bases than making sound policy.
"Too many times policymakers are taking their eye off the ball in Washington and St. Paul, the ball being bipartisanship and working together for the common good," he said.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)