Posted by: jamesvw | December 17, 2009

Election 2010 – Minnesota Governor

Election 2010 – Minnesota Governor

If it seems to you that every person in the entire state of Minnesota is running for governor, you are not far off.  8 Republicans and 11 Democrats are running for the seat where Republican incumbent and Presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty is not running for reelection. And this number could grow – the filing deadline is one of the latest in the country, July 20, 2010. However, in Minnesota, parties have caucuses where, generally, the nominee is selected. This is scheduled for April 23-25. However, in such a big race, odds are that many candidates will want to actually wait until the primary to see the voter’s selection.

There are so so many candidates that it may be good for Minnesota voters to get a head start on learning about their choices. Join below the jump to read about the myriad of candidates.

As a point of clarification, in Minnesota, the Democratic Party is actually the Democratic-Farm Labor party (DFL).

Click here to learn more about voting in Minnesota.

Visit Election 2010 and Voting, State by State to read other posts about elections in Minnesota and elsewhere.


While many in the establishment believe that Norm Coleman, who lost one of the closest elections in US history for Senate last year, will enter the race, so far, Republicans have a wide range of choices and anyone seems like they could emerge from the pack.

Winning the front pole position in this alphabetical listing is Pat Anderson, who has the only statewide experience out of any of the Republicans. That is because she served as State Auditor from 2003-2007. Prior to this, she was a city council member and then Mayor of Eagan. To learn more about Anderson’s campaign, click here.

Probably the biggest longshot in the race is Leslie Davis, a self-proclaimed “Republic(m)an” and environmentalist. To learn more about his campaign, click here.

Many figures from the Minnesota legislature appear in this race. The first of these candidates is Tom Emmer, a State Representative from Delano. A former USHL hockey player and trial lawyer, Emmer was first elected in 2004 and is focusing on agriculture and cutting government spending in his campaign. To learn more, click here.

Bill Haas has not been working in Saint Paul since he left the legislature in 2004, but he is looking to move back as governor. Formerly the Mayor of Champlin and then representing a House district around that city, more recently he has worked as a lobbyist for the White Earth Tribal Nation. To learn more about his campaign, click here.

The one Republican State Senator running in this race, as of now, is David Hann. Representing Eden Prarie and Minnetonka in the Senate, Hann hopes his focus on the education issue, alongside his rigorous anti-tax stances, will make him stand out. He is also a Vietnam veteran. To learn more, click here.

Cribbing his campaign slogan from Barack Obama may be a strange strategy for a Republican, but Phil Herwig does not seem like the conventional politician. A farmer and a member of the machinist union from the St. Cloud area, Herwig touts both his traditional Republican stances on many issues with a willingness to work with members of the opposition party. To learn more, click here.

Sue Jeffers is the other longshot candidate, not yet with a website or any recognizable organization. She is a restaurant owner and ran in 2006 against the incumbent. She is a self-proclaimed Libertarian Republican.

Last but certainly not least for Republicans is the leader of State House Republicans, Marty Seifert. As Minority Leader, Seifert has helped push Governor Tim Pawlenty’s agenda through the House. Representing a district consisting of Lyon, Redwood and Yellow Medicine counties, he is also a member of the Sons of the American Legion. To learn more, click here


Two power hitters are the center of the field on the Democratic side, but with 11 candidates, anything can happen.

The first big name is former US Senator Mark Dayton. A member of one of the dynastic Minneapolis families, Dayton served for one term in the US Senate, elected in 2000, and was previously Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Economic Development and State Auditor. A fiery liberal with a streak of Minnesota populism, find out more about his campaign here.

R.T. Rybak may not have been voted upon by all Minnesotans, but his name will be familiar to most. As Mayor of Minneapolis, by far the largest city in the state, Rybak has risen from being a fairly unknown journalist and businessman to being one of the most popular figures in the state. Celebrated by progressives and known for working with Republicans, Rybak hopes that he can spread his name to all corners of the state. To learn more, click here.

Not to be cowered by these two figures are the other 9 Democratic candidates, who range widely in professional experience and in ideology. First up is Tom Bakk, a State Senator from Cook. A longtime member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Bakk touts his strong progressive streak combined with hard work for labor rights. To learn more, click here.

Matt Entenza is also familiar in the government halls of St. Paul. He was House Minority Leader from 2003-2006, ultimately serving six terms in the State House before running for Attorney General in 2006. A father of three, Entenza founded the Minnesota 2020 think tank a few years ago. To learn more, click here.

Everyone needs a niche in this sort of race and that is exactly what Susan Gaertner has. As Ramsey County Attorney, she appeals to both the law-and-order voters of the DFL voters and has been elected by the voters of the city she wants to lead from, St. Paul. A lifelong resident of the state, including both undergraduate and law school at University of Minnesota campuses (first in Duluth and then in Minneapolis), Gaertner is hoping to stand out from the crowd at the caucuses. To learn more, click here.

In a time of economic turmoil when the state finds itself in fiscal trouble, it may help to have a budget expert at the helm. Steve Kelley, a former State Senator and Representative from the Hopkins area, is hoping voters think so too. Currently, Kelley is a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute, a Minnesota think tank and teaches courses on Public Budgeting. To learn more about his campaign, click here

There must be quite a few unfriendly glares in the halls of the St. Paul legislature these days with so many legislators running against each other. None has power there like Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the Speaker of the House and an aspirant to become Governor. Head of the chamber since 2006, she has successfully battled for Democratic principles against the Republican governor. To learn more about Kelliher’s campaign, click here.

Not to sound like a broken record, but yet another State Legislator, Senator John Marty hopes to stand out. Representing the suburbs north of St. Paul, Marty has a background in non-profit work and has sponsored legislation targeted at ethics reform and anti-poverty appropriations. To learn more, click here.

State Representative Tom Rukavina is using many early endorsements from local unions to promote his bid for governor. Hailing from Virginia, Minnesota and a member of the legislature since 1986, Rukavina was a steel worker union member as well as being elected to the Virginia school board at the age of 22. To learn more, click here.

Last, but certainly not least is Paul Thissen, a State Representative who, since first being elected in 2002, has focused a great deal on health care especially for children. Initially an attorney and the founder of a pro-bono organization providing lawyers to clients with disabilities, Thissen represents a Minneapolis district. To learn more, click here.


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