St. Paul Mayor Enters Minnesota Governor Race

By John Celock

The mayor of Minnesota’s capital city has announced his intention to seek the governorship in 2018.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) announced Tuesday that he will be entering the Democratic primary field to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who will not seek a third term in 2018. Coleman is the second Democrat to enter a gubernatorial race that is likely to be competitive.

“I am running for governor because I believe Minnesota is strongest when we work together. I believe we are at our best when we are true to ourselves. I believe that no one has to lose so that others can win. I believe Minnesota is the greatest state in the nation. These are my guiding principles,” Coleman said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “From small towns to larger cities, we all want good paying jobs, a strong future for our children, a sustainable environment and safe communities for our families. Here in Minnesota, we understand this only comes from hard work, a commitment to fairness and a willingness to make bold decisions.”

Coleman enters the race after state Rep. Erin Murphy because the first Democrat to announce her intention to seek the governorship. Murphy, a former state House minority leader, has outlined a vision based on her background as the daughter of an auto worker and as a nurse.

Several other Democrats are thought to be considering races for governor including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Attorney General Lori Swanson, state Auditor Rebecca Otto and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybek. Smith would likely have backing from Dayton and his inner circle if she entered the race to succeed him. Smith has been the state’s most visible and powerful lieutenant governor since she took office as Dayton’s second term running mate in 2015. A former chief of staff to Dayton in his first term, Smith has carved out a role as a top advisor to Dayton, different from many of her predecessors, who played a primarily ceremonial role as lieutenant governor.

On the Republican side, state House Speaker Kurt Daudt, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, state Sen. Julie Rosen and state Rep. Matt Dean are considered possible candidates. No Republicans have officially entered the gubernatorial race.

The Minnesota governor’s race will be one of the few where Democrats will seek to retain a governorship in 2018. With Democrats trailing in gubernatorial office holding nationally, Democratic-leaning Minnesota will likely be a top national target for the party. Dayton was the first Democrat to win the Minnesota governorship in 20 years when he won his first term in 2010.