The Coalition to Draft Rick Nolan for the 2018 governor's race has hired Emily Jensen, an operative for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and who recently ran the re-election campaign of DFL Chairman Ken Martin.  

The hiring of a seasoned operative is a signal that the Draft Nolan campaign -- comprising DFL elected officials and activists close to Nolan -- is laying the groundwork for a Nolan run.  

“Emily Jensen is a seasoned political professional familiar with Minnesota’s progressive and moderate wings of the DFL party,” said Justin Perpich, chair of Draft Nolan, in a statement. “Jensen’s experience leading the Minnesota caucus operations for Sen. Sanders in the 2016 presidential election is a testament to her deep knowledge of DFL activists and the DFL nominating process," he said. 

Nolan would be the second DFL U.S. Congressman to enter the race. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz announced he is running in March. 

State Reps. Erin Murphy of St. Paul and Tina Liebling of Rochester have announced they are running, as have St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Other candidates still considering it are Attorney General Lori Swanson and Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis.

No Republican has yet announced a run. Among those considering a bid are House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey, and a handful of state legislators including Rep. Matt Dean of Dellwood, Sen. David Osmek of Mound and Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake.

Jensen, a Marshall native, said in the statement that Nolan "is the right person, with the right voice, at the right time to win the 2018 gubernatorial election.”