Attorney General Lori Swanson, who was rebuffed by a substantial portion of party delegates in her bid for reelection at last weekend’s nominating convention, is instead running for governor.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, the 8th District congressman who announced in February that he will retire from the U.S. House, is Swanson’s running mate.
The duo made a formal announcement Monday afternoon in downtown Minneapolis.
“We couldn’t be more excited about today—about being able to step forward and serve the people of Minnesota,” Swanson said. “We’re a couple of problem solvers.”
Nolan said that he and his wife, Mary, met with Swanson on Sunday after he got a surprise call from Swanson to discuss teaming up in the race. He said he decided to join the ticket Monday morning.
“To be able to serve and collaborate in a Swanson administration is just a request too compelling to decline,” Nolan said.
Nolan said he anticipates his working relationship with Swanson, should she become governor, would be similar to the tight collaboration between former President Jimmy Carter and his vice president, Walter Mondale, in the 1970s.
After just one round of balloting at the DFL’s nominating convention in Rochester Saturday, Swanson dropped out of contention to repeat as attorney general. She led in the delegate count at the time 52 percent to 47 percent.
She said a key reason she withdrew her name, despite leading, was because delegates circulated a number of pledges that they demanded she sign. She said she felt she could not comply.
“Because I wasn’t completing these pledges and I wasn’t completing these questionnaires, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to me,” she said of the large plurality of delegates voting against her.
“When that ballot came back it allowed me to step back and evaluate what options there may be,” she said. “And this is what we are doing today.”
Asked whether she believes she would ultimately have prevailed over challenger Matt Pelikan as balloting progressed at the convention, she said she wasn’t sure.
“Who knows?” she said. “You don’t know how balloting goes.” After the first round Saturday, she said, “I decided to step back and let the convention move on with their business.” Pelikan was named the party’s nominee for attorney general.
The DFL’s primary ballot figures to be crowded. The DFL endorsed Rep. Erin Murphy, St. Paul, a former House majority leader. She later named Rep. Erin Maye Quade, Apple Valley, as her running mate.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who did not secure the DFL nomination over the weekend, already has indicated he and his running mate, state Rep. Peggy Flanagan, St. Louis Park, will compete in the Aug. 14 primary against the two Erins. They now will be joined by Swanson and Nolan.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto withdrew her name from contention as a nominee Saturday after attracting the smallest number of delegate votes. On Monday, she posted a Facebook message indicating she is suspending her campaign from the governor’s race.
On the GOP side, gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson and his running mate Donna Bergstrom face a primary challenge from former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his running mate, Michelle Fischbach—Gov. Mark Dayton’s current lieutenant governor. She resigned from the state Senate on May 25 and signed on with Pawlenty shortly thereafter.