Updated: March 12, 2018 | Posted: March 27, 2017
Minnesota DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has announced he is not running for re-election in 2018. Here's a look at who is in and who is out in the race for the open seat.
• Nikolay Bey,
• Bob Carney, GOP • Former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey, GOP
• Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, GOP
• State Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL
• State Auditor Rebecca Otto, DFL
• Phillip Parrish, GOP
• Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, GOP
• Ole Savior, GOP
• U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL
• Jeffrey Warton, GOP
• St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, DFL
• State Rep. Matt Dean, GOP • Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, GOP
• State Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL
• U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, DFL
• State Sen. David Osmek, GOP • Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, DFL
• Attorney General Lori Swanson
• State Rep. Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL
Keith Downey: The business consultant and former state legislator from Edina entered the race on July 24.
"I know where the issues are. I know how to tackle them. I know how to get it done. And I think I have a track record in business, in the Legislature and as state party chair of really getting things done," he said. "We need results, not excuses, and that's what I intend to run on."
Jeff Johnson: The Hennepin County commissioner was the 2014 Republican nominee for governor. He jumped into the race on May 10.
In a three-minute video announcing his campaign, he promised to take on a state government culture he argues is filled with cronyism and overbearing laws.
"I'm ready. I'm tested," he says. "Join me in the fight to reclaim our state and the fight to return power, opportunity and freedom to you and every citizen of this great state of Minnesota."
Erin Murphy: The state representative became the first to jump in when she announced her candidacy on Nov. 17.
Murphy has served five terms in the Minnesota House, including stints as majority leader and deputy minority leader. She was re-elected to a sixth term to her District 64A seat in 2016.
As an urban lawmaker seeking statewide office, Murphy stressed the need to "confront the things that are dividing us," including geography, gender, race, and class.
"We need to do this because we are in this together and our future depends on the success of each of us," Murphy said in a news release.
Rebecca Otto: The state auditor added her name to the candidate list on Jan. 9.
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.
"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."
Other past auditors to become governor include Republican Arne Carlson and Dayton.
Per the AP, she was the first woman seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
Tim Walz: The six-term congressman, who represents the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota, jumped into the race on March 27.
Walz says he's a problem-solver who has proven he can win in a swing district.
"This rural, urban divide has to end. Being a Democrat and progressive in a more conservative area, and still having support from folks. I think that bodes well. So I'm going to take a look at it," Walz said following a town hall meeting in February.
Chris Coleman: The three-term St. Paul mayor ended his bid for Minnesota governor Feb. 12, not long after a disappointing finish in a precinct caucus preference ballot.
Coleman had been seen as a top contender when he entered in December 2016. He served three terms at the helm of the state's capital city. And he had earned support from labor unions and a decent number of greater Minnesota mayors, the type of blend a candidate needs to be successful in the long run.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, though, ran away with the win in the non-binding straw poll, taking 30 percent of the votes.
Matt Dean: The Dellwood lawmaker announced his candidacy April 27. He's an architect and former House majority leader first elected to the House in 2004.
But on Jan. 25, 2018, Dean said he was dropping out and endorsing Jeff Johnson. Dean said he felt party unity had to be a top priority as the gubernatorial races pick up.
Blake Huffman: The Ramsey County commissioner announced his candidacy April 19, and suspended his campaign Sept. 4 in a Twitter post. Huffman said he'd focus on other work, including running his nonprofit that focuses on providing housing to veterans and victims of domestic violence.
"While our message has reached many people and we have received tremendous encouragement and support, it is clear that we cannot succeed in the DFL endorsement process," she said in a statement.
Instead, she will run for re-election. "It is also critical to have a progressive majority in the Minnesota House that will work with boldness and integrity to make Minnesota better place for all — no matter who is in the governor's office," the statement said.
She has served in the Minnesota House since 2005.
"After much thought and consideration with my wife Mary, friends, and family, I have decided not to run for governor of Minnesota. The challenges and consequences of the issues facing our nation in Washington are too important for me to walk away from at this time." Nolan said in a statement.
David Osmek: The state senator dropped out of the running Jan. 8, 2018, citing a poor showing in a straw poll at an early December Republican State Central Committee meeting, where state Rep. Matt Dean scored the win and Osmek finished a distant fifth.
Osmek said Republicans needed to unite around one strong candidate.
Tina Smith: Dayton's lieutenant governor said she considered running for governor for months. But after consulting with friends and family, as well as considering today's political environment, she opted not to run.
"I would say that it is a difficult time in politics right now, but if anything that is a motivating factor, not a factor that dissuades me," she said. "We need people in politics now more than ever are really ready to go out and fight for what they believe in."
Lori Swanson: The attorney general on Jan. 28 announced her plans to run for a fourth term rather than governor.
She said she appreciated the encouragement she was getting to run for higher office but said she has too much important work on her plate.
"I must focus all my energy and attention on that work," Swanson wrote, citing cases against pharmaceutical companies, for-profit colleges and President Trump's restrictions on travelers from certain foreign countries.
Paul Thissen: The lawmaker in his eighth two-year term representing southwest Minneapolis. He formally launched his campaign June 15.
Thissen became speaker in 2013 when the DFL had a lock on state government with the Legislature and Dayton in control.
He dropped out of the race Feb. 7 after a poor showing in the party's caucuses the night before.