One needs a program to keep track of the candidates for governor in 2010 — there’s about two dozen in both the DFL and Republican parties. All are scrambling as Gov. Tim Pawlenty is not running for a third term, and perhaps has his sights on the 2012 presidential election.
Among the corps of Democrats seeking the governship is House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis. While Repubilcans are quick to lump her with the extreme liberal DFL Twin Cities caucus, she stumps on her rural roots growing up on a southern Minnesota farm, an operation still farmed by her brothers. She makes it a habit to show up at rural events, such as the annual Minnesota Farm Bureau banquet.
As speaker of the House, Kelliher wields a lot of power within her caucus, and fellow Democrats know that. So, it seems, DFL House members are flocking to support her gubernatorial bid even though several other DFL House members are also seeking that office plus a few senators as well.
In a statement Kelliher’s campaign put out a few days ago, it was noted that Bemidji’s House members now count themselves in the Margaret Anderson Kellliher camp.
“I am supporting Margaret because she has the intelligence and common sense to carry out the duties of governor and move Minnesota forward to a sustainable economy in these changing times," said Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, in endorsing the speaker. Turn-about is fair play, as pictured above is Kelliher campaigning for Persell’s House bid in 2008.
Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, is signed on as a Kelliher supporter, although a quote from her wasn’t included.
Several candidates, most especailly former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, have been after former Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji, but Kelliher won that battle. "As a northern Minnesota legislator it was important that we had a leader who listened to and cared about what we needed up here. As speaker, Margaret has been that leader," said Moe, who has taken his two-dozen sled dog operation to a remote Grand Marais location while he works on his Ph.D.
Also counted among Kelliher supporters is Rep. Ryan Winkler, the Bemidji High School grad, and property tax guru Rep. Paul Marquart.
"It’s really important to me that Minnesotans from all over the state, from all different walks of life, and all different backgrounds are involved in my campaign for governor," Kelliher said. "It’s not just my campaign for governor. It’s our campaign for governor."
Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, hasn’t given an indication of who he will support, but most likely it will be Senate Taxes Chairman Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. Skoe serves under him as vice chairman, and the two think alike.
Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, has said she wants to remain aloof until DFLers are closer to endorsing a candidate for governor. But I’m betting her decision lies between Bakk and Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville. She has had Bakk in Bemidji for several town hall meetings, and Olson has soliticed help from Bakk on legislation affecting Bemidji. Olson’s first love in legislation is health care reform, and she’s worked closely with Marty on health care issues. I’d say those two are on top of Olson’s list.