Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon will not join DFL Gov. Mark Dayton as he bids for a second term, she announced Tuesday morning.
"It has been a great privilege and my distinct honor to serve the people of Minnesota as our state's 47th lieutenant governor," Prettner Solon said in a rare appearance before the press from the governor's august reception room podium. "Today, I have made the decision, after more than two decades of service in public office to step aside and to let someone else take the reins."
Dayton, who was traveling to Washington DC for a meeting with President Obama as Prettner Solon made her announcement, praised her in a statement for her "tireless leadership" and "invaluable service."
The governor and his second in command met for about 40 minutes on Monday to talk over her decision. That she won't appear on a second Dayton ticket came as little surprise to him or Minnesotans. Prettner Solon said months ago she talks to Dayton infrequently and she was unsure whether she would run with him.
On Tuesday, she appeared to avoid any explicit criticism of Dayton or their relationship.
"I thank Gov. Dayton for presenting me with this opportunity to serve," she said. In answer to a question, she did not swear off the possibility that she would run for office again someday.
Prettner Solon is a former Duluth City Council member who was elected to the state Senate after her husband, Sen. Sam Solon died. She was reelected twice after that special election and left the Senate to join Dayton's ticket in 2010.
Prettner Solon said she and the state's chief executive talk when they need to but that when she took the job, she had expected to be more involved in policy decisions.
She said that neither had Dayton asked her to stay on nor did he ask her to leave.
Now, Dayton will have the task of finding a new second in command to fill out his ticket. During the months while speculation swirled that Prettner Solon would make the decision she did, possible names were floated in political circles. Chief among them: Iron Range board commissioner Tony Sertich, Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Smith and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Katie Sieben.
In recent days, all three have not returned calls or have avoided comment.
Prettner Solon said she had one piece of advice for whomever holds the office next: "Make the most of it."
See our live blog of her announcement below: