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Walz to run for Minnesota governor

Walz to run for Minnesota governor

Following months of speculation, First District Rep. Tim Walz formally announced Monday morning his plans to seek the Democratic nomination for Minnesota governor in 2018.

Walz hopes to use his experience representing southern Minnesota to help heal the urban-rural divide in St. Paul. 

"This idea of dividing us, whether it be by economics, by race or by geography, that's the antithesis of what I'm talking about," Walz told the Post-Bulletin. "The idea of one Minnesota is what has always made the state strong."

Walz, now in his sixth term representing Minnesota's First District, is a ranking member on the House Committee of Veterans' Affairs. As a moderate Democrat, Walz has been an outlier in his own party with an ability to reach across the aisle and garner support from a mostly rural portion of the state.

However, some of that changed in the year of Trump. Walz narrowly won re-election in 2016 as his challenger, Republican Jim Hagedorn, rode a wave of rural support for President Trump — finishing within one percentage point of Walz.

Prior to getting into politics, Walz, 52, served in the Army National Guard and worked as a teacher in his hometown of Mankato. 

Gov. Mark Dayton has already announced he will not be seeking re-election in 2018. Other Democrats who have announced plans to run include St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. On the Republican side, House Speaker Kurt Daudt has been floated as a top prospect for 2018.

Walz's bid for governor leaves the First District, which includes Rochester, wide open. Hagedorn has already announced plans to campaign for the position for a third time in a row. Trump won the district by 15 points in the 2016 election.

Cover photo: Official House photo of Walz

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