The Coalition to Draft Rick Nolan for the 2018 governor’s race hired Emily Jensen last week. She was an operative for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. She 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 statewide run by the DFL congressman from northeastern Minnesota.

Nolan told MinnPost that he’s “leaning toward running for governor.”

(A pet peeve: Anyone else notice this trend where you get a free day of press by telling reporters you are “strongly considering” running?)

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, officially in the governor’s race, won the endorsement of former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Walz needs help in the Twin Cities, where he is less known, so this was a key endorsement if Rybak is active.

For DFLers, having both Walz and Nolan in the race is probably not ideal, although competitive primaries can sharpen candidates for their general election contests.

Seventh District

Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, will run against U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, Forum News Service reported last week. The sprawling western Minnesota district is ripe for a GOP pickup, but Peterson has been politically resilient since winning his seat more than a quarter century ago.

Interesting trivia about Miller: He has seven children.

AG race

Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, is running for attorney general. Lesch, known for his sartorial splendor and colorful oratory, said he’s tired of being thwarted at the Legislature.

“Lobbyists show up out of the shadows,” he said.

In the courts, by contrast, “You narrow the influence.” He then threw out an interesting historical/literary analogy, “Like King Leonidas narrowed the influence of the Persian Empire at Thermopylae.”

Lesch did a few pushups before the interview.