Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton has won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nomination to run for Minnesota governor after a close Tuesday primary race with three other DFL candidates.
It wasn’t long after the polls closed Tuesday at 8 p.m. that DFL candidate Matt Entenza conceded the race, and a fourth DFL candidate was never really in the running for the nomination.
But the race between Dayton and party endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher stretched on late into the night. Eventually it became clear that Dayton had a small lead, and Kelliher offered her concession on Wednesday.
Here’s part of an Associated Press story about the outcome of Tuesday’s primary and what Minnesota voters will next decide – if Dayton should become the state’s next governor, or if they want to instead pick the Republican or Independence Party candidates.
MINNEAPOLIS â€” Democrat Mark Daytonâ€™s photo-finish win in a three-way primary for Minnesota governor set up a November election featuring two contenders on the poles of their parties.
Daytonâ€™s victory earned him the party nomination and breathed new life into a political career that appeared dead after a futile U.S. Senate term. He now shoulders a partyâ€™s hope of breaking a nearly 25-year losing streak in governorâ€™s races.
Dipping deep into his pocket once again, Dayton beat an even wealthier rival in attorney Matt Entenza and state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Kelliher didnâ€™t concede until shortly before noon Wednesday, a marker of a race Dayton won by about 7,000 votes out of more than 440,000 cast â€” a difference of about 1.5 percentage point.
Minnesota voters will have a clear choice in November between Dayton, who vowed to raise taxes on high earners, and Republican Tom Emmer, a state representative who says heâ€™ll cut taxes and shrink government. Emmer rolled over three challengers.
Dayton said he had no plans to soften his message for the general election. Voters, he said, would hear â€œthe Mark Dayton theyâ€™ve heard for 35 years.â€
The wild card in the race is Tom Horner of the Independence Party, former Gov. Jesse Venturaâ€™s old home. Some Democrats have blamed the IP in part for their recent gubernatorial losses, but Hornerâ€™s past as a former GOP strategist means he could wind up hurting Emmer this time.
Democrats are hoping Minnesota offers a chance to pick up a governorship in a year when Republicans are thought to have the edge elsewhere. GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty didnâ€™t seek a third term as he considers a 2012 presidential bid.