A fire at the former home of Gov. Mark Dayton near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis was deliberately set, police said Saturday.

Firefighters were called about 2 a.m. Saturday to a small blaze at the back of the house in the 4200 block of E. Lake Harriet Parkway, said police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty. Gasoline and lighter fluid were found at the scene, he said.

The fire did little damage because the current owners were able to put it out before firefighters arrived, McCarty said.

He said that because Dayton once lived in the house, it is possible someone thought he still owned it and set the fire for political reasons.

"That is an aspect investigators will be looking at, with all the stuff [government shutdown] going on with the state," he said.

McCarty said he did not know of any messages left by whoever set the fire. No one was seen leaving the fire and no one has been arrested, he said.

Katharine Tinucci, Dayton's spokeswoman, said he lived on E. Lake Harriet Parkway more than 10 years ago.