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GOP ballot for governor in 2014 could be crowded

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News Ellsworth,Wisconsin 54011
Pierce County Herald
GOP ballot for governor in 2014 could be crowded
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's 2014 governor race is under way. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton long has said he plans to seek a second term, and at least a half-dozen Republicans want the chance to knock him off. One GOP wag joked that every Republican legislator was thinking about running.


So far, the main Republican in the race is rich businessman Scott Honour, who announced his candidacy via email and Web video.

"Like you, I love Minnesota," he said in the email. "But I fear that our state is headed in the wrong direction, and under the wrong leadership. I know that the same people with the same political resumes are not going to solve our problems."

The 46-year-old Orono resident quickly offered the Wall Street Journal an interview about his candidacy, and a day later offered to talk to several Twin Cities-based media outlets.

Honour leads an international investment firm.

While Honour may be the first serious GOP candidate, he will not be the last. Serious contenders include:

• Former state Rep. Jeff Johnson, now a Hennepin County commissioner, is expected to announce his candidacy within days.

• Sen. David Thompson of Lakeville says he will announce if he will run soon after the Legislature adjourns May 20.

• Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont probably is the only potential GOP candidate besides Honour who could finance her own campaign.

• Senate Minority Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie ran for governor the last time around.

• Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove was House speaker for two years made contacts around the state.

• Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is a former state representative who has met with the president on gun control issues.

An incumbent always has a good chance to win a new term, so most might think that Dayton's re-election odds must be pretty good.

University of Minnesota political blogger Eric Ostermeier, who delves deep into the political numbers, says political watchers should not assume that.

"Slightly more than one in five Minnesota gubernatorial incumbents in state history lost their re-election bids, or nine out of 42 attempts," he reported on his Smart Politics blog.

DFL governors, like Dayton, have won just six of 11 re-election bids, Ostermeier reports. Only two Republican governors didn't win re-election.