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St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to run for governor in 2018

ST. PAUL -- More than a dozen Minnesotans may run for the open governor's seat in 2018, but so far the race is all St. Paul. St. Paul's longtime mayor Chris Coleman entered the gubernatorial race Tuesday, joining St. Paul state Rep. Erin Murphy. ...

ST. PAUL - More than a dozen Minnesotans may run for the open governor’s seat in 2018, but so far the race is all St. Paul.

St. Paul’s longtime mayor Chris Coleman entered the gubernatorial race Tuesday, joining St. Paul state Rep. Erin Murphy. Both are seeking to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton, a fellow Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member who is not running again.

“I have already spoken to residents from towns across Minnesota - including many of you,” Coleman said in a prepared statement. “Our communities share many of the same goals and have the same hope for vibrant economies and a strong future for our children. In the coming months, I want to explore my ideas with you, and hear yours. I intend to be a bold leader as we work to ensure Minnesota becomes an even better state in which to live, work and raise a family.”

Coleman had been exploring such a run for months before making it official on Tuesday morning. He had traveled to parades, protests and local meetings around the state and recently announced that he would not seek a fourth term as St. Paul’s mayor.

Both St. Paul candidates will try to win DFL support at a time when the party is grappling with divides between urban and rural Minnesota. Coleman stressed commonalities between St. Paul and Greater Minnesota cities on Tuesday, while Republicans claimed he was out of touch with Greater Minnesota.

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“People are worried about their jobs and their future,” Coleman said Tuesday. “If you look at the work we’ve done in St. Paul … I think that will resonate with people across the state of Minnesota.”

Crowd of candidates possible Coleman, 55, defeated former St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly in 2005 and has held the job since. He considered running for governor in 2010, but decided against it. Dayton was elected governor that year, and again in 2014, but has said repeatedly he will not seek a third term.

“There are no circumstances under which I would run again,” Dayton said Tuesday.

More than two dozen prominent Minnesotans in both major parties are considering running for governor. Coleman is the second to officially enter the race, after Murphy.

In a statement Tuesday, Murphy, a former state House majority leader, welcomed Coleman to the gubernatorial race: “Chris and I worked on legislative issues impacting St. Paul over the years and I’ve appreciated his work highlighting the city’s successes. I welcome him to the race and look forward to discussions on how we can tackle the tough issues facing our state.”

In his announcement Tuesday, Coleman said he would run in part on his record as mayor of St. Paul, including public safety, education and infrastructure but especially “jobs and economic development.”

Republicans greeted Coleman’s candidacy with an attack. The GOP-aligned Minnesota Jobs Coalition called him a “tax-and-spend liberal” and criticized his handling of St. Paul’s budget, which is currently facing a potential $32 million shortfall after the constitutionality of some of the city’s fees was questioned by the state Supreme Court.

Coleman argued that St. Paul’s concerns are the same as those cities across Minnesota face, and said the city is in fine financial shape with its AAA bond rating. Any budget “challenges” St. Paul faces, he said, were “partly because the state” has reduced funding for local governments over the years.

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