DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin announced Tuesday that he would run for another term leading the party in Minnesota.
"Now more than ever I am convinced of the need for a strong State Party to rebuild after the heartbreaking losses in November," Martin wrote in a Facebook message announcing his re-election bid.
Minnesota's DFL fared better than its Democratic counterparts against a national Republican wave on November 8, with Hillary Clinton beating President-elect Donald Trump in the state and DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan beating back a tough challenge from Republican Stewart Mills.
But Clinton's overall loss, the full Republican takeover of the Minnesota Legislature and other defeats for the DFL and Democrats nationally left Martin "trying to cope with the amazing level of grief and despair of this crushing loss," he wrote. In Minnesota, the election found Clinton and many DFL legislative candidates struggling to win over voters in large swaths of Minnesota outside the core Twin Cities area.
Martin wrote that he initially wondered if he had the energy to stay in the job but decided the DFL needs a "steady hand" as it heads toward the pivotal 2018 elections, he wrote.
The '18 cycle brings an open race for governor, with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton not planning to run again. DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's seat will also be on the ballot, as will three statewide constitutional offices currently held by DFLers: attorney general, state auditor and secretary of state. The party will also be trying to overturn the state GOP's sizable majority in the state House.
Losing the governor's race in '18, Martin wrote, would leave Minnesota to "end up just like Wisconsin with all the progress we have made eroded." He also warned of "a hostile national political climate" under the Trump administration.
"We have to get back to basics and that means focusing on issues that unite our party in every corner of the state -- an economic populist message that brings everyone to the table," Martin wrote. "We must also renew our efforts in greater Minnesota with new initiatives to reach communities far from the metro."
Martin was first elected DFL chair in 2011. The Eagan resident is a longtime party operative who managed Mike Hatch's 2006 gubernatorial campaign and held numerous other campaign and political organizing jobs. No potential challengers have announced a bid for DFL chair.