USA TODAY
October 29, 1990

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 3A

Minn. nominee quits gov's race

Hounded by sex scandals, Republican Jon Grunseth quit the Minnesota governor's race Sunday night.

''The events of the last three weeks have put enormous pressure on (my) family and on the political process and on the people of Minnesota,'' Grunseth said from his home in Afton. ''I therefore decided to withdraw.''

His resignation nine days before the election - a move apparently without precedent in the USA in recent memory - threw the election into chaos.

Gov. Rudy Perpich of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party remains on the ballot.

But the nominee of the Independent-Republican Party, if there will even be one, remains an intra-party mystery to be hashed out by a 4: 30 p.m. Friday filing deadline.

Grunseth's campaign went into a tailspin Oct. 15, after allegations he had invited four teen-age girls, including his adopted daughter, to swim nude with him at a 1981 party. One of the girls said he also tried to touch her breast.

He nearly resigned last Thursday, but changed his mind after a 3 1/2-hour meeting with key campaign strategists.

Then, Sunday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a story in which Grunseth admitted a ''romantic'' relationship with a 32-year-old woman. The woman, Tamara Taylor of Minnetonka, said she and Grunseth had an intermittent affair from 1980 to 1989.

Grunseth, 44, was divorced in 1983 and married his present wife, Vicki, in 1984.

''I always haven't been a perfect person. I think I'm a pretty decent guy but I've made some mistakes and I feel badly about that, too,'' Grunseth said.

In withdrawing, Grunseth implored his party to unite because of the ''superb opportunity'' to beat Perpich.

The party, however, is controlled by a conservative faction that has little use for Arne Carlson, who finished second to Grunseth in the primary.

But Carlson, who began a write-in campaign after the original charges were leveled at Grunseth, may be the party's only hope to defeat Perpich, a three- term incumbent who has lost popular support. The most recent polls show Carlson 10 points ahead of Perpich in a head-to-head contest.

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