Minnesota Precinct Caucuses - Tuesday, Feb. 2

Meet the major party candidates

This year, don't even thinking about trying to claim there's no candidate to your liking. There are more than enough candidates to choose from at Minnesota's precinct caucuses Tuesday night, with 25 candidates seeking support in the three major political parties - 13 DFLers, 7 Republicans and 5 Independence party candidates.

Here's a roster to help you sort them out and to learn more about them.

 
Democratic
 
Independence
 
Republican
 
Learn more about Minnesota's precinct caucuses

Note: For candidates, the e-mail and phone number information is what is listed on their campaign websites or Facebook pages.

 

Tom Bakk

State senator
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-379-0272
A carpenter from the tiny Iron Range town of Cook, Bakk's campaign slogan is simplicity itself: "Jobs Jobs Jobs."
Chair of the tax committee in the state Senate, Bakk, 55, is in his second term, having previously served six years in the House. Bakk has described himself as "pretty moderate, but I'm a pretty damn good Democrat." He has pledged to abide by the party's endorsement. He is pushing for healthier job creation for Minnesotans, relying on a combination of bonding that would create construction jobs and tax incentives to investors who provide capital to small and start-up companies.
 

Bob Carney Jr.

Independent businessman and inventor
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-824-4479
Coming off a race for Minneapolis mayor last year in which he got 229 votes under the Moderate Progressive Censored label, Carney is running for governor as a "moderate progressive Republican."

In January, a Ramsey County judge dismissed a lawsuit by Carney that challenged Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unilateral cuts to a program that refunds political contributions. He has said he is seeking the GOP endorsement, but will run in the primary if he doesn't get it.
 

Leslie Davis

Environmentalist
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-522-9433
Once best-known as an environmental activist, Davis, has in recent years become a perennial and unsuccessful candidate for statewide office. Davis, president of Earth Protector, is a longtime opponent of the garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis and last year unsuccessfully sued to block construction of the new Twins stadium as a way to halt the burner's expansion plans.
Davis also has written a book about former Gov. Jesse Ventura titled, "Always Cheat." He also hosts a weekly cable TV program.
 

Mark Dayton

Former U.S. senator
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-333-2175
The DFLer in the race with arguably the highest public profile, Dayton also has had the most roller-coaster political career of the bunch. The heir to the department store fortune, Dayton, 62, served as commissioner of the Minnesota Departments of Economic Development and of Energy and Economic Development and was elected State Auditor in 1990, serving one term.
He won election to the Senate in 2000 and opted not to run for reelection. His popularity took a big hit when he temporarily closed his Washington office in 2004, fearing a possible terrorist strike against the Capitol.
Generally liberal on issues, Dayton is emphasizing improvements in education and making health care more affordable. It's unclear what political fallout will occur from his revelation late last month that he has long taken medication for mild depression.
 

Tom Emmer

State representative
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-783-5657
Emmer, a three-term Republican representative from Delano, is ambidextrous, but when it comes to politics he is firmly on the right. The 48-year-old trial attorney and former college hockey player is an outspoken advocate, and during past legislative sessions was frequently on his feet arguing his beliefs.
Like all Republicans in the race, Emmer said the state must trim its budget in tight times rather than raising taxes.
Emmer, who will quit the race if he doesn't get his party's endorsement, has led his Republican legislative colleagues to file a friend of the court brief supporting Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2009 unallotment decisions, and spearheaded a move last year to amend the state's constitution to forbid any potential requirement that people be required to buy health care.
 

Matt Entenza

Founded Minnesota 2020 think tank
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-647-1425
The former House Minority Leader who served 12 years in the Legislature representing St. Paul, Entenza, 48, has been working the campaign trail longer than almost any other candidate. Long considered a rising DFL star, his upward trajectory abruptly stalled in 2006 when he dropped out of the race for attorney general when news surfaced that he hired an opposition research firm to dig into a rival DFL candidate, Mike Hatch. Entenza retreated into the realm of think tanks, creating Minnesota 2020. Stressing education, the economy and health care reform, he said he will run in the primary even if he doesn't win party endorsement.
 

Susan Gaertner

Ramsey County Attorney
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-645-2010
Ramsey County's prosecutor since 1995, Gaertner has positioned herself as an outsider untainted by what she has called "that mess" at the state Capitol. She is stressing a need to change what she calls "the leadership culture" of state government. Gaertner has held no other elected office and formerly was an assistant county attorney, a job she took after practicing as a criminal defense attorney. Gaertner has said she would ease the burden on local property taxpayers by considering an increase of income tax rates on Minnesotans who earn more than $500,000 a year. She also is stressing health care and education and has staked out a position favoring same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
 

Bill Haas

Owner of Haas Managed Benefits
Candidate website
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Phone: 763-421-6153
A state legislator for a decade before his defeat in 2004, Haas, 60, says he's an advocate for small businesses. He runs a firm that provides employee benefit programs to small businesses.
He also has been a lobbyist for the White Earth band of Chippewa. While in the Legislature, he authored an unsuccessful bill authorizing a state-run casino that would have shared revenue with Indian tribes. He was mayor of Champlin before running for the Legislature.
Haas has made an issue of civility, saying he's fed up with the way campaigns have been run in the past.
He has given priority to job creation, campaign reform and solving the state budget deficit without raising taxes.
 

Rob Hahn

Publisher and novelist
Candidate website
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Hahn is a Twin Cities novelist and publisher. The St. Paul resident and political novice describes himself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. He supports gay marriage, a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings and gambling at horse racing tracks and on river boats. He wants to phase out state aid to cities and counties, but doesn't rule out increasing taxes to balance the budget. Hahn publishes The Midwest Wine Connection and Minnesota Prep Sports. He wrote The Funeral Home Murders, a mystery set in Hudson, Wis. He is writing a new novel, Robbob for Governor, which he says is a fictional account of an independent candidate seeking the state's highest office. On his campaign website, he asks to be called Robbob.
 

David Hann

State senator
Candidate website
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Assistant Minority Leader in the state Senate, Hann, 57, is serving his second term. A resident of Eden Prairie, he is a business consultant. In straw poll held at the GOP's state convention last fall, Hann landed in fourth place.
Hann, who serves on two education committees, said he would make education reform a centerpiece of his campaign and push for more local control of school decisions. A former school board member, he has supported several education initiatives, including charter schools, home schooling and school vouchers.
On other issues, he has written that "as we look at the economy, health care, and our social service commitments, it is clear we cannot continue to simply increase our state budget and hope for the best."
Hann has said he will abide by the party's endorsing process.
 

Phil Herwig

Renovates properties for an investor
Candidate website
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Phone: 320-369-4143
Having farmed, taught social science and been a union machinist, Herwig, 67, has an atypical background for a Republican running for governor. But he's been active in GOP politics for years. He wants to cut taxes and reduce government spending and mandates for insurance coverage. He also pledged to reject any federal education funds if they are linked to education mandates. He was appointed by former Gov. Arne Carlson to the Minnesota Rural Development Board and the Governor's Commission on Violent Crimes. He ran unsuccessfully in 1994 for Congress against U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, a DFLer.
 

Tom Horner

Principal, co-founder of Himle Horner, Inc.
Candidate website
Horner, 59, has never held elective office, but he enjoys a relatively high public profile from his years as a Republican talking head and analyst on Twin Cities radio and television.
He's abandoning the GOP to attempt to win the nomination of the Independence Party, saying he represents a centrist strain of politics that reflects the public mood more than either the Democrats or Republicans.
Horner first cut his political teeth as chief of staff for former Sen. Dave Durenberger during the 1970s and '80s. He followed that by founding the Himle Horner public relations firm in 1989, which he still runs. He's also an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas.
Discussing his candidacy on his Facebook page, Horner wrote: "Talking to people about Minnesota's future reinforces my belief that we don't suffer a shortage of creative solutions and innovative people. There are good ideas coming from Republicans, Democrats and independents. The challenge is to get policy makers to get beyond their political interests."
 

Steve Kelley

Senior fellow at U of M's Humphrey Institute
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-454-4784
A longtime legislator from Hopkins, Kelley, 57, has three statewide races under his belt - all of which he lost. Despite his track record running for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and governor and attorney general six years later, he has dismissed electability as irrelevant political insiders' shorthand.
After serving two terms in the House, he spent from 1997 until 2006 in the Senate. Since then, he has been a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute and the director of the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy. He also teaches public policy at the University of Minnesota.
If elected, Kelley has said he would sign a same-sex marriage bill, refocus health care spending on prevention, spend more on K-12 and higher education and create a "Minnesota Children's Zone," which would offer intensive services to targeted families and children.
 

Margaret Anderson Kelliher

Speaker of the Minnesota House
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-746-8911
As anyone who has watched Kelliher's gubernatorial campaign knows, she was born on a farm in Blue Earth County. Now she's a Minneapolis Democrat and is the powerful Speaker of the Minnesota House.
Kelliher, 41, has support for her run from Democratic women, including the national fundraising group EMILY's list, the state's largest public employees' union and more current lawmakers than any other DFLer in the race. The lawmakers automatically get a vote at the party's endorsing convention. Kelliher has pledged to abide by the endorsement.
In January, the state's campaign finance board fined her campaign $8,000 for an arrangement in which her supporters paid the DFL party for her access to a database of voters. Other campaigns paid the party directly. The board found the campaign, and the DFL party, circumvented campaign finance laws.
 

John Marty

State senator
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-646-4468
A self-described progressive, Marty, 53, is making his second run for governor, having endured a lopsided loss to Arne Carlson in 1994. His defeat was the worst for a DFL gubernatorial candidate since the party's founding 50 years earlier. One of the earliest DFLers to launch his campaign, last April, he said at the time the "the world's changed" since then, referring to his 1994 loss.
In his seventh term in the state Senate, Marty, of Roseville, has staked much of his political capital on ethics reform and universal health care. He also is pushing property tax reform to lower taxes while providing better support for local schools; he also advocates legislation to tackle the growing wage gap and the lack of job security.
Acknowledging the difficulties of amassing a war chest in such a crowded field, he has said his campaign will emulate the grass roots methods of President Obama and his political role model, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.
 

Felix Montez

Youth counselor
Candidate website
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Montez, 33, ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature in 2008 as a Republican in a Minneapolis district and lost to DFL Rep. Diane Loeffler. On his website, he bills himself as "Minnesota's voice for the small, 'L' Libertarian." He supports expanded nuclear power, calling it "our most affordable, greenest source of energy." He also says he would assert Minnesota's sovereignty in bringing National Guard troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
 

Scott Raskiewicz

Candidate website
Phone: 651-695-1535
An unsuccessful candidate in the 2002 race for the Fourth Congressional District seat, Raskiewicz has switched from the Green Party to the DFL.
He joined the field last week, too late to be included on the gubernatorial preference ballot that caucus-goers will vote on.
On his campaign website, he has written, "Some might say it is not appropriate to run for governor without first holding a series of less demanding public offices. This argument holds that one should work your way up the ladder before becoming governor. This view is understandable. However, history and current events show that political leaders who take this route … lose the willingness and ability to think objectively and creatively."
 

Joe Repya

Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)
Candidate website
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Repya, a well-known Republican and veteran of three wars, has gone to war with his old political party. Announcing his bid for the Independence Party nomination, he said he's running because "it is time to put an end to political party divisiveness in St Paul."
He was more blunt last summer, when he publicly broke with the GOP after failing to win the post of party chair in 2007. He wrote that the "new party leaders are rabid, power-hungry ideologues and the former attack dogs of the previous party chairman," and that the party is in a "death spiral."
Repya, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who served in Vietnam and both wars with Iraq, first came to public attention in 2003 when he launched the Support Our Troops grassroots lawn sign campaign backing the Iraq war. In 10 weeks, 30,000 lawn signs were distributed.
He has identified the state's looming budget deficit as the biggest issue in the campaign. Repya, 63, has said he will serve only one term if elected.
 

Tom Rukavina

State representative
Candidate website
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Phone: 218-749-0951
While he lacks the statewide name recognition of some other candidates, Rukavina has become a power at the Capitol in his 12th term as a state representative from Virginia. He currently is chairman of the House higher education and workforce development committee. He self-deprecatingly described himself as "a powerful little candidate."
Reflecting his Iron Range political base, Rukavina, 59, has snagged the endorsement of four steelworkers unions.
He has identified jobs and education as central issues in his campaign. In the Legislature, he has pushed for higher wages, limits on the exporting of jobs and protections against the permanent closing of mining and manufacturing facilities in the state.
Rukavina got high-profile publicity for his sponsorship in 2007 of a law that bans the sale of foreign-made American flags in the state.
 

R.T. Rybak

Minneapolis mayor
Candidate website
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Phone: 612-379-1612
Rybak, 54, is bucking the history of his the office he holds: No Minneapolis mayor has ever been elected governor - and of the state's 38 governors, only three have gotten the job after serving only in positions in local politics, according to the Humphrey Institute's Smart Politics blog.
Coming off a landslide win for a third term last year, Rybak is in the process of introducing himself to the rest of the state beyond the city's limits. He hopes to parlay his leadership in the wake of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse and is styling his campaign after the one waged by President Obama; in Minnesota Rybak served as Obama's most prominent surrogate campaigner.
He has a decidedly eclectic resume: A former reporter who became a business development booster and then a weekly newspaper publisher and then an Internet consultant. Rybak then boosted his local political profile as an airport noise activist.
 

Ole Savior

Artist, writer
Phone: 612-872-8050
Like clockwork, every two years, Savior runs for statewide office, but seldom attracts more than 2 percent of the vote. Savior, 60, does not have a campaign website, but has an irregularly-updated blog. A Minneapolis resident, he describes himself as "an artist, a writer and a poet."
 

Marty Seifert

State representative
Candidate website
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Phone: 651-204-9979
Before his run for governor, Seifert, R-Marshall, was best known at the Capitol as the House minority leader who always had a quick quip and a willingness to adopt headline grabbing issues. But last summer he resigned his legislative leadership position to run for governor.
During his campaign, his first run for statewide office, Seifert has pitched himself as principled and electable.
"We need people to stand up for our conservative principles: limited government, power of the free market, and individual responsibility," Seifert said in a radio ad. He will drop out of the race if he doesn't get the party endorsement this spring.
At just 37 years old, Seifert has been in the Legislature in 1996.
 

Paul Thissen

State representative
Candidate website
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Phone: 952-303-6207
Four-term Minneapolis state representative Thissen, has a pretty wonky title in the Minnesota Legislature - he is the chair of the House Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee. The Harvard and University of Chicago Law School graduate's work on health care issues can come across as wonky but Thissen, 43, can also claim that few running for governor know the details of health care policy as well as he does.
Thissen has run his campaign, which he started back in 2008, in an unflashy, head-down style. He's made lots of fundraising calls and they've paid off - he's raised more than $370,000 for his campaign.
Thissen, who will not run in a primary without his party's endorsement, has received support for his campaign from the Minnesota Nurses Association.
 

John Uldrich

Businessman
Email the candidate
Phone: 612-722-2287
Uldrich, a former Marine, is a co-founder of Velixar, Inc., a Bloomington-based maker of marine electronics, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Uldrich, 73, also has been a manager in major corporations and has worked as a business development leader in Minnesota. He was the first director of the Range Business Assistance Center in northern Minnesota and of a business incubator in Owatonna. He says he has counseled more than 1,500 individuals and companies in business start-ups. He also has been an adjunct professor at four colleges and universities. His son, Jack Uldrich, has served as the Independence Party’s chair and was a top official in Gov. Jesse Ventura’s administration.
 

Rahn Workcuff

Phone: 612-766-9119
Workcuff, an Air Force veteran, ran unsuccessfully in 2006 as an independent for the legislative seat long held by Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, the Senate Majority Leader. He was also an unsuccessful Minneapolis school board candidate in 2004.
 
Democratic
 
Independence
 
Republican
 
Learn more about Minnesota's precinct caucuses