Gov. Mark Dayton endorsed St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter on Wednesday.

Carter stepped down from the St. Paul City Council three years ago to work for the governor on increasing access to early education and providing opportunities for students. He is executive director of Dayton’s Children’s Cabinet, though he has taken a leave of absence from the job to work on his mayoral campaign.

“Melvin Carter has been a thoughtful, passionate, and effective leader, who has worked hard to give kids strong starts and better chances of success in school and life,” Dayton said in a statement. “I know Melvin Carter will bring that same leadership to his work to make St. Paul a city that works for everyone.”

Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith were two of the many state and local politicians to support Carter.

Carter’s opponents have also received numerous endorsements.

Many labor organizations, including St. Paul’s police and firefighter unions, backed candidate Pat Harris, as has the political action committee of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Minnesota Nurses Association and local chapters of progressive groups Our Revolution and TakeAction endorsed Dai Thao.