Lt. Governor Tina Smith Turns Down Opportunity to Run for Governor

Lt. Governor Tina Smith’s announcement about a future run for Governor leaves the field wide open for both Republicans and Democrats looking to hold Minnesota’s highest office.

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ST. PAUL, Minn — It’s now open season for Minnesota’s race for Governor. On Friday afternoon, Lt. Governor Tina Smith announced that she would not be seeking a run to replace her boss, Governor Mark Dayton in 2018.

In a Facebook status, posted around 2:30 p.m., Smith announced her decision stating, “Over the last six years, I have talked to thousands of Minnesotans about what makes Minnesota work, and what we need to do to make it work better. I have never believed as strongly as I do today that Minnesota is the best place in the country to live, with the most creative, decent, hard working and fair-minded people you would ever want to meet. And …I also believe, more strongly than ever, that Minnesota has yet to live up to its full potential; that everyone has a chance for opportunity, independence, and the freedom to live their own dreams in their own way.”

Smith ends her remarks by writing, “I also will work as hard as I can to elect a Democrat for Governor in 2018, because I believe we have the best ideas for how to create jobs and opportunity for everyone in Minnesota.”

Before her stint as Lt. Governor, she worked as the Chief of Staff to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, worked in marketing for General Mills, and was the Vice President of Planned Parenthood, and Vice President of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Minnesota’s race for Governor already has a few big political names who have thrown their hats into the ring. Democrats have three candidates so far in State Rep. Erin Murphy (D-Minneapolis), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Rumors have circulated indicating prominent Democrats such as State Sen. Tom Bakk (D-Virginia), State Rep. Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis), Attorney General Lori Swanson, U.S. Congressmen Rick Nolan (MN-08), and Tim Walz (MN-01) may consider a bid for the office.

According to Blois Olson of Minneapolis-based “Morning Take,” Nolan is close to making a decision to run for Governor.

St. Cloud native Christopher William Chamberlain is the only Republican to formally declare his candidacy for Governor. However, big Republican names such as Hennepin County Commissioner and former Governor candidate Jeff Johnson, Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth), Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Fox News Contributor Pete Hegseth, and current MNGOP Chair Keith Downey, have also been listed as potential Republican candidates.

According to a KSTP Survey conducted in November 2016, former Governor Tim Pawlenty polled the highest at 19 percent for Republicans, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar polled highest for Democrats at 25 percent. In December 2016, Alpha News reported Klobuchar would not be seeking a run for Governor. However, 64 percent of those surveyed said they would like to see someone else run for the office.

The race for Governor will swing into full gear during the summer as the election will take place in November 2018.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.