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Minnesota’s Tim Walz Running for Governor

Six-term congressman will leave behind competitive seat

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz is running for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz is running for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a widely expected decision, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz has announced he’s running for governor in 2018.

The six-term Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressman revealed his decision to the Post Bulletin Monday morning and is planning to file for the office later in the day.

“I think now more than ever people are just wanting (government) to work. They are not looking for the partisanship. They are not looking for me to have all the answers, but they are certainly looking for me to bring people together to find those solutions that we all know are there,” Walz told the Post Bulletin.

Despite not being a national GOP target last cycle, Walz barely won re-election, defeating two-time challenger Jim Hagedorn by less than a point. President Donald Trump carried the 1st District by 15 points after former President Barack Obama carried it narrowly in 2012 and 2008.

Hagedorn has already announced a third bid for the southern Minnesota seat, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has included the 1st District on its list of 36 initial targets. In a statement Monday morning, NRCC Communications Director Matt Gorman said the committee is “confident we’ll turn it red in 2018.”

Democrats need to gain 24 seats in the House next year to win the majority, so they can’t afford to lose any of the seats they currently control.

But speaking to Roll Call last week, Walz said he wasn’t worried about the DFL losing the seat without him. He suggested that Trump voters are already feeling disaffected. 

“It certainly swung pretty hard to Donald Trump but I think that’s more of a frustration, wanting change. I think now, from my town halls and the input we’re getting in our office, [they are] pretty disillusioned with what actually that means now,” Walz said.

Walz campaign manager and former state Rep. Terry Morrow may run for his boss’ seat, in which case he’d likely be Walz’s pick. State Reps. Tina Liebling and Gene Pelowski and state Sen. Dan Sparks may be interested as well.