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A former Republican governor of Minnesota weighed in Friday on the GOP's four-way race to challenge Mark Dayton in November.

Al Quie was a state senator and U.S. representative who was elected governor in 1978, when he defeated DFL incumbent Rudy Perpich. He said Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader from Marshall, has the best shot at unseating Dayton.

"Just as I defeated a DFL incumbent to become governor, Marty Seifert has the ability to bring people together and win in November," Quie said, according to the Seifert campaign.

Seifert is running in the GOP primary for governor. His principal opponents in the Aug. 12 vote are businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who won the GOP endorsement, and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

Quie is the first former Republican governor to weigh in on the race. Tim Pawlenty, who served from 2003 to 2011, is now leading a Washington-based advocacy group for banks and has stepped back from electoral politics. Arne Carlson, who led the state from 1991 to 1999, is no longer active in GOP politics and has endorsed DFL and Independence Party candidates.

Quie, of southeastern Minnesota's Rice County, is the last GOP governor not from the Twin Cities. Seifert is the only candidate of the four from outside the Twin Cities. He has tried to use that distinction to build a deep base of support among rural Minnesota GOP activists.

Patrick Condon