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Smith aiming for governor’s seat

The race for the next governor of the state of Minnesota hasn’t officially started with the election two years away, but we may have a new governor before we go to the polls in 2018.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been everywhere this past year and has the news releases to prove it. She has taken an office that was vying for a Ms. Irrelevant award and got her name out into the public eye.
Reporter Doug Grow noted this in a recent story in MinnPost.
“Minnesota’s never had a lieutenant governor like Tina Smith. She’s been televised going underground to check a sewage system in Dennison; catching a walleye on Lake Vermilion; touring factories and farmyards from one end of the state to the other; and — perhaps most importantly — constantly meeting with (and in photographs with) her boss, Gov. Mark Dayton.”
Only a political junkie could name previous Minnesota lieutenant governors. Or maybe you remember Yvonne Prettner Solon, Carol Molnau, Mae Schunk, Joanne Benson, Joanell Dyrstad and even Rudy Perpich’s running mate, Marlene Johnson.
Smith has said she and Dayton don’t talk about her chances of winning in 2018 and becoming the state’s first female governor.
But there’s also a strong chance she might hold that title before any ballots are cast. Dayton has had numerous health problems the past two years and people close to him will tell you, he’s not the same man today.
When Dayton came to Ely to tour the new library in October of 2014 there were people concerned he wouldn’t make it up the steps to the podium. Given he had hip surgery in February of that year, but it wasn’t just his hip that looked unhealthy.
Whispers in St. Paul include Dayton stepping down after the session and Smith being elevated to the state’s top political position. It’s one thing to campaign for election as the lieutenant governor, it’s way better to campaign as an incumbent.
If Dayton does step down, Smith may end up being in the right place at the right time.
She told Grow that her succeeding Dayton are never discussed when the two of them talk. But it’s obvious she’d like the job.
There are plenty of potential candidates for governor in 2018, although more so on the DFL side than the GOP. To throw a possible monkey wrench into the race, we’ll mention a coffee shop discussion in Ely recently.
Why doesn’t Stewart Mills run for governor instead of trying (again) to beat Rick Nolan who has turned out to be a much better Congressman this time than when he held the office in the 1970s.
Smith vs. Mills. There’s an interesting match up. Especially if Smith already holds the title of Governor of the great state of Minnesota.

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