While the field of DFL candidates angling for the governor’s seat in 2018 seems to expand every week, no Republicans have officially stepped up with a campaign announcement.
At the Capitol, there’s plenty of speculation over the likely GOP field — and particularly over the possibility that House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, might be aiming for the state’s top office. In the first months of the session, Daudt has carved out strong positions in opposition to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, flexing the muscle of the large House GOP majority on issues like health care and Real ID.
But Daudt, away from the Capitol during the Legislature’s spring break, said he’s still undecided.
“I kind of go back and forth,” he said in an interview. “Some days I think there’s a lot more I can do in the job I have now. I really don’t know if it’s something I want to go through or not.”
The speaker is well aware that many DFLers think he’ll draw out budget negotiations to win political points. But he said that kind of posturing bothers him, and he aims to finish the session with as few conflicts as possible.
“Those things, when I’ve suspected other people have done them, have made me very mad,” he said. “I hope I’m not doing that. I really do.”
And though he’s often contrasted with the more mild-mannered Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, Daudt said he’s not a “hothead” when it comes to tough negotiations.
“I am somebody who will hold you accountable,” he said. “If you say you’re going to do something, you’re going to do something.”