Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's gubernatorial bid got a national nod from former DNC chair Howard Dean, whose 2004 presidential campaign Rybak supported.
"R.T. is the kind of progressive who will make sure that the decisions he has to make at the State Capitol which won’t be popular and won’t be easy do not hurt the most vulnerable people in our society," Dean wrote in a letter sent to Minnesota Democrats.
Dean stressed what he sees as Rybak's anti-politician vibe, which could be an important factor in a year when politicians are particularly unpopular. Rybak has been in office in Minneapolis for nearly a decade.
"R.T. isn’t really a politician. He was a journalist, a union member, and started his own business before running for Mayor for the first time just eight years ago. He’s an organizer and a grassroots campaigner," Dean, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont governor.
Dean's endorsement could bring with it some national might -- although he was criticized during his term as DNC chair for not raising enough cash, he still brought in millions -- and some baggage. (Here's a link to a list of a remixes of the "Dean scream" circa 2004.)
Rybak was also an early supporter of then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid and Obama and Rybak have chatted about the race. Here's a telling of that meeting:
The mayor, in Washington for a Democratic Governors Association gathering, and his campaign manager were meeting with West Wing staffers when Rybak said he was told: "There is somebody downstairs who wanted to say hi to you."
The mayor, an early and ardent Obama supporter, was led to the Oval Office. There, Obama and Rybak ate apples -- Galas, which the mayor said are not as good as Minnesota Honeycrisps --and the president asked about the governor's race.
Rybak said he did not ask for, and did not receive, the president's campaign endorsement.