By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — By this time next week, we will know who the Minnesota Republican party will nominate to run against Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton.

Whoever comes out on top next week at the party convention in Rochester will almost certainly face opposition in an August primary.

What not clear is if whoever ends up facing Gov. Dayton in November will make his health an issue. The governor is continuing to recover from his latest surgery.

Right now, Dayton’s re-election bid looks pretty robust. He got most of what he wanted this legislative session and seems eager to take on critics and run on his record.

The 2018 Super Bowl coming to Minnesota is another boost.

It was Dayton, after all, who arguably put more effort into securing a stadium than almost any other elected official. The state economy continues to improve — and he has more campaign money in the bank than all his potential Republican opponents combined.

What has not been as healthy for the governor is, well, his own health. He continues to recover from a February hip surgery that left him for a time in a body cast. It was his third procedure at the Mayo Clinic since 2012. And behind the scenes, even members of his own party are concerned about his ability to physically handle another four years in office.

Gov. Dayton appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“As I have said before I don’t think there are any brain cells in my hip so I haven’t had that affected at all by that injury and I tore a muscle off my hip bone but there are athletes that have that happen too, you know,” he said. “I feel good. I feel strong. I feel ready to serve again and that will be up to the people of Minnesota.”

Dayton is 67 and surprisingly, he is already the oldest person ever elected Minnesota Governor. The second oldest, Arne Carlson, was 60 when he was re-elected in 1994.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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