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Everyone and his brother wants to run for governor of Minnesota

By Staff | Feb 8, 2010

Who would want the job of governor of the State of Minnesota?

I mean, after all, the state is in dire financial shape. The next governor is going to be facing some tough decisions, and whatever is done is sure to make some people mighty unhappy.

Plus, you will need to raise several million dollars, including a lot of your own funds, just to get elected.

And, besides that, the Vikings want a new stadium or else they are threatening to move. The next governor will have to solve that dilemma as well.

Who would want that responsibility?

I guess a lot of folks would. At one point I heard there were nearly 30 who had thrown their hat in the ring, so to speak. This must be absolutely unprecedented, to have this many people interested in the position of the state’s chief executive.

At the Minnesota Newspaper Convention on Jan. 27, 19 of the governor candidates showed up for a debate which was covered by all of the television stations and newspapers in the Twin Cities.

About 400 news people, including yours truly, were in attendance.

To call it a ‘debate’ might be stretching it. All 19 candidates were in front of the audience in three rows on a raised platform. The moderator said it looked like a telethon phone answering bank.

There were a series of questions asked, and each candidate had a very limited amount of time to answer. Thus, any actual debating was severely limited.

It was interesting, to say the least. But not always in a way one might think. The candidates were a varied cast of characters.

The major front runners were in attendance; Mark Dayton, R.T. Rybak, Marty Seifert, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Tom Emmer.

But there were others who are not so well known. Tom Bakk, Rob Hahn, Bill Haas, Susan Gaertner and Rahn Workcuff, to name a few.

Some were polished in their answers. Quite a few seemed determined to relate their platforms, no matter what the question might be. In other words, they would answer a question about school funding by saying it is important, but roads and highways are also important and we need to fix all of our infrastructure. You get the picture.

Perhaps the most interesting character was Ole Saviour. This perennial candidate has a lot of ‘interesting’ ideas.

Dressed in a purple Vikings T-shirt and a leather Vikings jacket, Saviour turned every question into a speech about how the Minnesota Vikings need a new stadium.

What about creating jobs, the panel was asked. Saviour responded that a new Vikings stadium would create jobs.

Hmmm. Can’t argue with that I guess.

The debate was co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Voters, the Minnesota News Council and the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

Although it was interesting, I am not sure what it accomplished. There were just too many people on the platform to keep track of, or to give enough time to for answers.

As one reporter said, “Take a good look. A week from now most of these people will be out of the race.”

And for a few of them, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.