Mark Dayton May Run for Minnesota Governor

Mark Dayton may have been a lousy Senator but he thinks he’d make a great governor.

As the minutes ticked down toward noon Wednesday — the end of his one-term Senate career — the departing Democrat said he is considering a run for Minnesota governor in 2010.

Mark Dayton Photo The announcement came as he recounted his frustration with Congress, acknowledging he had not been “as effective as I hoped to be when I arrived.” For that, he blamed what he called the seniority-driven politics of the Senate, where he was in the minority party for the past four years. “The Senate or the Legislature is a very reactive institution, and I think I’m much more effective personally and professionally being more proactive,” he said.

Republicans reacted to a potential run for governor with incredulity, noting Dayton recently gave himself an “F” for his Senate performance. “Mark Dayton has received national recognition by Time magazine as one of ‘America’s Worst Senators’ and has himself acknowledged that he deserved an ‘F’ for his ineffectiveness in the U.S. Senate,” said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey. “With a track record like that, I find it beyond belief that Mark Dayton would think he has what it takes to be our governor.”

Being a poor Senator doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective governor; the two jobs have little in common. Great athletes seldom make great coaches or sports executives. Great military commanders are often poor staff officers and vice-versa. It’s rare to have the skill sets to excel across the board.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Being a poor Senator doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective governor

    Pete Wilson and Frank Murkowski to the contrary notwithstanding, I’m sure…

  2. Couldn’t they just give the candy to one of the PA Senators who then puts it in the other desk?

    Oh, the complexity of it all.

  3. Oops-that comment was supposed to go to the previous post.

  4. Dale B says:

    The only reason Mark Dayton is a senator is that his last name is Dayton (of Dayton’s department stores) and that he has a lot of family money. The money enabled him to essentially buy the election. That, and he is a loyal DFL (minnesota democratic party) member. A Democrat has to be pretty bad to not get elected in Minnesota. He’s been hanging around the state government for most of his adult life and served in many appointed jobs. He wasn’t good at any of them. If it wasn’t for his money and family name nobody would pay him any attention.

  5. I can’t think of a better candidate for Minnesota Governor that the democrats could put up. And think of the state savings as he shuts down the state government every time he’s told that there are bad men out there who want to do harm to Americans.

  6. Mark says:

    Dale B.:

    I call bullshit. Please name the “many” state jobs that Dayton was appointed to hold. He certainly has a favorable name and is wealthy, but you probably felt similarily for George Allen, right?


    Thanks for being fair to a good man. Trust you and yours are well.