ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Veteran political consultant Pat Shortridge says he will run to be chairman the Minnesota Republican Party while former state representative Mike Osskopp is dropping out of the race.

Osskopp says Thursday he will support Shortridge’s bid. Shortridge has worked for numerous Republican campaigns around the country in recent years. He served as chief of staff to former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy and managed his unsuccessful 2006 U.S. Senate run.

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The new GOP chairman will take the reins of a party seeking to erase hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

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Businessman and political unknown Todd McIntyre is also seeking the post, and acting chairwoman Kelly Fenton says she hasn’t ruled out seeking it permanently. GOP activists meet in St. Cloud on Dec. 31 to choose their new leader.

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