DFL Members, 7B Competitors Say Rep. Gauthier Made "Right Decision"

By KBJR News 1

August 22, 2012 Updated Aug 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Before his decision to end his campaign for re-election, Representative Gautier was under a lot of pressure from DFL party leaders to make way for a new candidate.

Now that he has left the race for the 7B House seat the response has been positive.

It was a change of tone from DFLers, happy with Representative Gauthier's decision to back down.

"I think it's the right decision to make. When I talked to representative Gauthier after I heard the news, I said I know this was an incredibly difficult day for you this was an incredibly difficult decision," said Senator Roger Reinert.

The DFL chair Ken Martin also released a statement saying quote "We are grateful that Rep. Gauthier has chosen to do the right thing and end his bid for re-election. This has been a very difficult ordeal for our party, our legislative leaders and certainly for Rep. Gauthier and others involved in this tragic situation."

"To have come out in the morning with one decision that you thought people would really resonate to and then I think what happened was throughout the day he heard people weren't really resonating towards that," said Reinert.

Two of Gauthier's competitors in the 7B race also agree with Gauthier's decision to get out.

"I think he did the right thing for not only his backing from the unions and the DFL party. It's a good decision on his part," said Councilor Jay Fosle.

While Councilor Fosle is not running under a party affiliation, Fire Fighter Erik Simonson is hoping he can now get the DFL endorsement.

"I'd be the only the only candidate that I'm aware of that's asking for the DFL to make a change in their endorsement and I'll be actively seeking that endorsement going forward," said Simonson.

While Gauthier will finish out his term, he says he will not be at the special session on flooding Friday, a decision Senator Reinert supports.

"I counseled him to not come. I really don't see for him a lot of good that would come out of it," said Reinert.

Before Gauthier with-drew from the race Governor Dayton told reporters the representative should attend the special session on flood relief...since he was still getting paid to do his job.

Jena, Gauthier was the target of some strong comments today.

There were, while some of his DFL colleagues said they support him as a friend, those we spoke with said they did not support his re-election bid.
The Duluth News Tribune reported that Representative Thomas Huntley went as far as calling Representative Gauthier a child molester.