It’s official: Dayton is the next governorMinnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton reached out to Republicans who will lead the Legislature within hours Wednesday of his opponent conceding the close governor’s race, saying they must join together to tame a massive budget deficit.
By: Associated Press, Lake County News Chronicle
Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton reached out to Republicans who will lead the Legislature within hours Wednesday of his opponent conceding the close governor’s race, saying they must join together to tame a massive budget deficit.
Dayton will become the first Democrat to serve as the state’s governor in 20 years, but will have to work with GOP legislative majorities who oppose his campaign pledge to tax the wealthy in order to fill an expected $6.2 billion shortfall.
“If we simply disregard and defeat each other’s proposals and try to make each other look bad in the process, we will only cause unwanted gridlock and deadlock,” the former U.S. senator said at a Capitol news conference.
Republican Tom Emmer had ended the drawn-out race earlier in the day, pulling the plug on a statewide recount nearing completion and ruling out a lawsuit. Emmer called Dayton to offer his congratulations just before appearing outside his home to concede, five weeks after the election.
Dayton’s winning margin is officially 8,770 votes – the lead he had entering the recount. Because Emmer conceded and waived the rest of the recount, none of those results will make it into the official record. The secretary of state’s office said Dayton would have won by 9,080 had the State Canvassing Board certified a tally based on recount results.
Incoming House Majority Leader Matt Dean previewed the battle ahead, saying the upcoming legislative session is likely to be as challenging as the election.
“With fewer Democrats in both bodies, it’s clear there is a firm bipartisan majority in the Legislature that will again reject job-killing tax increases,” Dean said.
Dayton will take over from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Jan. 3. The two planned to meet face-to-face Thursday and hold a news conference about the transition.
As governor-elect, Dayton will have access to a state office and a $162,000 transition budget.
Dayton lost a month for making key hires and orienting himself to an executive branch that he may try to reshape. While his transition team has been vetting possible commissioners, none has been formally selected and probably won’t be for days. He said he aims to name a chief of staff within two days.
“No excuses,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”
Dayton’s victory revitalizes a political career many thought was over after his Senate term, when Republicans ridiculed him for temporarily closing his Washington office in response to information about a possible terrorist threat.
When he decided not to run for Senate again, Dayton said he was clearing the way for a Democrat who would have a better shot at winning. But he immediately set his sights on a second bid for governor, after having made an unsuccessful run in 1998.
Dayton plowed through a crowded Democratic field and won the nomination in a close primary that personally cost him millions.