The upcoming precinct caucuses this month are a critical step for candidates for governor of Minnesota. This is where they will start building their support for the State Convention as they vie for their Party’s endorsement.

This race is pivotal in determining the direction Minnesota moves. It is an open seat and no matter who wins, there will be many changes in the way the state business is conducted. There are numerous people in both the DFL and Republican parties that have announced or are rumored to be thinking of running for Governor.

Below are short biographies on the most prominent people who are in, or could jump in, the race. They are listed alphabetically to not appear as any sort of endorsement of any particular candidate or party:

DFL Candidates

Chris Coleman is the former three-term mayor of St. Paul. He has support across the state from numerous mayors.  He and his wife, Connie, have been married 29 years and they have two adult children.

Tina Liebling is serving her 7th term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  She lives in Rochester with her husband, Mark. They have three adult children and one grandchild.

Erin Murphy is a nurse who is also serving her 5th term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She served as the Majority Leader from 2013–2014. She and her husband, Joe, have been married since 1989 and they have twin daughters.

Rebecca Otto has been the State Auditor since 2006.  She lives with her husband, Shawn, on a farm in Marine on St. Croix.  Two governors, Arne Carlson and Mark Dayton, were also State Auditors before becoming governor.

Lori Swanson is the current Minnesota Attorney General and was rumored to be thinking about running for Governor.  She, however, recently announced that plans to run again for Attorney General.

Paul Thissen has served in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 2002, elected as Speaker of the House from 2013–2014. He and his wife, Karen, were married in 1993 and they have three children.

Tim Walz is a retired teacher of 20 years, a 24-year member of the National Guard and a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the only candidate who has picked a running mate already – Peggy Flanagan. Peggy, of St. Louis Park, is serving her second term in the Minnesota House and is a citizen of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

Republican Candidates

Kurt Daudt is the current Speaker of the House. His name is brought up as someone that may still get into the race. No formal statement has been issued as to whether he will run or not but it is still being talked about.

Matt Dean was a candidate for governor. He announced recently that he was suspending his campaign and fully supporting Jeff Johnson. He currently serves in the Minnesota House of Representatives but is retiring after the 2018 Legislative Session.

Keith Downey served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2009–2013 and ran for the Minnesota Senate but lost in the 2012 election. He is also the former Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. He and his wife, Amy, have three children.

Jeff Johnson served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2001–2007 and was the 2014 Republican candidate for Governor. He is currently serving as Hennepin County Commissioner. He and his wife, Sondi, have two children.

Tim Pawlenty is actively considering another run for governor. He served two terms from 2003–2011. While he has indicated he is not interested in running for U.S. Senate, there is still conversation about him running for a third term as governor.

Next Steps

The precinct caucuses provide an opportunity for you to have your voice heard in this important political year. See how to get involved.