Only hours after Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Jon Grunseth changed his mind and decided not to drop out of the governor's race Thursday night, two top state GOP leaders urged him to change his mind again.

Grunseth, whose campaign has been crippled by allegations that he swam nude with three teenage girls at a 1981 party, called a news conference Thursday to announce he was quitting but switched at the last minute.

State Senate Minority Leader Duane Benson and House Minority Leader Bill Schreiber yesterday urged Grunseth to leave the field to state Auditor Arne Carlson, who launched a write-in effort Monday. Carlson lost to Grunseth in the GOP primary.

"Jon Grunseth's candidacy is hurting the entire ticket," Benson said at a news conference. "There is no question that the governor's race is bringing down politics in Minnesota to a level never before experienced," Schreiber added.

Grunseth, who was assured by his finance committee that it would raise $200,000 if he remained in the race, promised to stand by his decision, leaving the governor's election a three-way race among himself, Carlson and Gov. Rudy Perpich (D). An independent poll showed Perpich, whose reelection to a fourth term was in jeopardy, winning in a three-way race.