Republican Jon Grunseth dropped out of the Minnesota governor’s race Sunday, after publication of a woman’s claim that she had an affair with him while he was married and other reports that he tried to get teen-age girls to swim nude with him in 1981.
“There are three things that are extremely important to me--my wife, my family, first and foremost; the Republican Party, the people of Minnesota,” Grunseth said from his home 20 miles east of Minneapolis.
“And the events of the last three weeks have put enormous pressure on the family, and, I think, on the political process and on the people of Minnesota,” he said. “I, therefore, decided to withdraw as the Republican candidate for governor.”
Grunseth’s campaign was thrown into chaos on Oct. 15, when two women said he tried to get them to swim nude with them while they were teen-agers nine years ago.
The women said they refused but that Grunseth, his teen-age daughter and a 16-year-old girl took off their bathing suits.
On Saturday, Grunseth told the Star Tribune newspaper he had had a “romantic” relationship with Tamara Taylor, 32, of Minnetonka, but he said it ended “a long time ago--in the early ‘80s.”
Grunseth, 44, divorced Katharine Winston in 1983 and married his current wife, Vicki, in 1984.
Taylor said that she and Grunseth had an intermittent sexual relationship from 1980 until 1989, during both his marriages. Grunseth said the affair ended before he remarried in 1984 and denied the nude-swimming allegations.
The state GOP executive committee can replace Grunseth’s name on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich is seeking a fourth term. State Auditor Arne Carlson, the runner-up in the GOP primary, last week re-entered the race as a write-in candidate for governor.