Otto embarks on bid for Minnesota governor

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto said Monday that she will run for Minnesota governor next year, adding her name to a growing lists of hopefuls for the open seat.

Otto is midway through her third term as auditor and hopes to succeed fellow DFLer Mark Dayton, who isn't seeking re-election in 2018.

Otto said she would begin a listening tour that will take her around the state to find out what Minnesota residents want their next governor to do.

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"Minnesotans will get a chance to know me as I travel in a different capacity and listen to them, hear from them about their ideas, their dreams and their hopes on this listening tour," she said. "And they are wise and they will end up making a decision at some point about who they want to be their next governor."

The tour was set to begin Monday night in Stillwater, near where she lives. Events are also scheduled for Woodbury, Redwood Falls, Duluth, North Branch and Rochester over the next week.

Otto said she plans to seek and abide by the DFL Party endorsement at the party's convention next year. No matter how that pans out, she said she won't fall back to another campaign for auditor.

"You don't do it forever," she said.

That means a potential scramble to replace her in what has been an attractive political post. Other past auditors to become governor include Republican Arne Carlson and Dayton.


Otto was first elected to her statewide post in 2006 after serving in the Minnesota House.

Otto is in the middle of a legal fight over a law that would give counties more power to use private auditors instead of her office for financial reviews. That case is before the Court of Appeals after a lower court ruled against her.

The race is likely to be crowded on both sides. Already, state Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman have announced they are running for the Democratic nomination. Several Republicans say they are weighing bids.