ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One year after winning a bruising election recount, and 11 months into his first term, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday he is running for re-election.

“I am going to run for re-election,” said Dayton. “The good Lord willing, for one more term.”

Dayton’s unexpected comments come one year, almost to the day, after he won the governor’s race over Republican Tom Emmer on Dec. 8, 2010.

“You know, it seems like an eternity ago,” said Dayton, who took the official oath of office 28 days later on Jan. 3.

Dayton acknowledged his freshman year was a ‘mixed bag’ of results, including a $5 billion budget shortfall on his first day in office.

There was also a budget stalemate with the newly-elected Republican Majority in the state legislature. Let’s not forget the state government shutdown that lasted a record 21 days.

This week, a judge quashed Dayton’s attempt to force a child care union election.

After all those events in his first eventful year, the governor gives himself an “A.”

“Personally, I feel this has been a very good year in terms of my own performance and effort, and everything else,” Dayton offered. “I give myself an A for effort, and doing my very best.”

And the legislature?

He paused, then said it “needs improvement.”

As the first Democratic governor in a generation, Dayton didn’t hesitate to take political shots at the new Republican majority. It’s a style that’s not always productive.

“Effort is one thing,” said Senator Dave Thompson, (R) Lakeville.  “Results are another.”

Thompson, who is assistant majority leader, said Republicans succeeded in “bending the curve” of state spending downward in spite of Dayton, not because of him.

“We held the line on spending. The governor said if we didn’t raise taxes we’d throw the budget out of whack with continued deficits. Here we are looking at a surplus. And so from a results perspective I think the way that we did things made some sense,” said Thompson.

Though he’s already decided to run for a second term, Gov. Dayton said his focus remains on the next year, not the next election.

“We’ve still got three years to go,” said Dayton. And there’s a lot more I’d like to accomplish before that time comes.”

Pat Kessler

Comments (34)
  1. Rags says:

    “Here, loser, fill; out your own Report Card. After all, it’s Minnesota.”

    1. Least We Forget says:

      When he was elected in 2000, Mark Dayton seemed well prepared, having worked as an aide to Walter Mondale in the 1970s. But he has exhibited erratic behavior since then; in October 2004 he shut down his office for almost a month, citing an unspecified terrorist threat. The 99 other Senators had access to the same intelligence and kept their offices open, even while Dayton went on television to tell his constituents not to visit the Capitol. . . .

      Inside the Senate, Dayton has passed few bills partly because some are too liberal for the Republican-controlled body, including one that would have created a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. He has confounded his colleagues by complaining about the basic facts of the job, such as his limited power in a chamber where authority derives from seniority.

    2. redneck purist says:

      If you’re a liberal you grade on a curve. Like say, next to Joe Biden, he deserves an A. Then it makes sense. A liberal’s A is a conservative’s D.

  2. M Daton says:

    What a joke the deserves a F-

  3. BHOSUX says:


  4. Sam I am says:

    Hahahahahaha. He Daffy Dayton more like a d-.

    He freely admitted we wouldn’t have had the shut down if he had read the final offer.

  5. Sandy P says:

    Lets be fair. Ventura, Mr Wacko D. Pawlenty Mr Fee’s F and Dayton Mr Idiot a D- so far.

  6. Randy says:

    Lets be fair. Ventura, Mr Wacko D. Pawlenty Mr Fee’s F and Dayton Mr Idiot a D- so far.

  7. Jake says:

    This guy is a legend in his own mind. Longest state gov’t shutdown in NATIONAL history?? No Vikes stadium? Property taxes going thru the roof?? Roads and bridges still crumbling, but lite rail and bike paths get the ‘go ahead’??
    Forclosures still at near record highs, hone values dropping like a rock, and he considers that record a success, and willing to run on it, not even halfway thru his first term?? Wow.

    1. Rasputin says:

      He gets an F for supporting Zygi’s attempt to take public money to line his own pockets.

      The governor should be protecting the people from the likes of Zygi Wilf.

  8. Guy says:

    To properly grade Dayton; we need to EXTEND the grading system…

    I give him a Z+ … but thats grading on the CURVE …

  9. fkafka says:

    An average “C” gov would have shown some minor leadership abilities in reaching out across the isle – not this one. He’s already suffering dillusions of grandeur. I think Kim Ellison, Keith’s ex wife, would get an ‘A’ as gov.

  10. Dan says:

    Dayton reminds me of Brick Tamlin.

    Governor Dayton, do you love lamp?

  11. Sister Mary Francine says ... says:

    An “A,” eh? Ahh, does the “A” stand for what I think Dayton is?

    Sorry, but this guy is at least a half a bubble off … but … let’s face it, those who voted for him are too so I guess he fits right in.

    Sad to say but our state is in deplorable condition and we have zip for leadership at every level of government. Until “regular people,” (meaning people who aren’t wealthy to begin with) can run for office, and until the voters can make some intelligent choices, we have nowhere to go but … gulp … down.

  12. blueskies says:

    Is he kidding?! The only thing he gets an A in is BARELY won governor after spending millions trying to get elected to ANYTHING…the word delusional comes to mind

  13. Judi says:

    The only thing he gets an A for is quantity of new dogs he’s gotten in the last year. What a joke.

  14. Jake says:

    Dayton, it’s an EFFINHIEMMER, BIG TIME. Get over yourself, you aren’t as smart or as important as you think you are. You are just ONE, deranged-, inept, over-indulged, spineless, white, incompetent, male. No reason to feel ashamed about it, the local media and the U of M have made a SCIENCE of it for DECADES.

  15. Daniel Tolin says:

    Real humble aren’t we…

  16. Gov Happy Pills says:

    How about an “O” for “OD’d on Prozac?”

  17. Orrest says:

    22 comments, 0 insight, Isn’t Minnesota filled with wonderful people

    1. oops says:

      Sorry teacher, I didn’t know this was a test question.

    2. ipmutt says:

      There is a consistent opinion here. For a variety of reasons nearly everyone thinks he has done a terrible job. They have that right. For him to give himself such a grade you have to think he has some kind of problem and might not be the guy for us next term. I find it’s clear he has big problems.

  18. Tim says:

    Time for a sanity check. This guy is absolutely off his rocker.

  19. Mark says:

    Dayton is prety consided, he has done absaloultley nothing, he managed to shut the state down and that is about it. If the Dems want to even think about keeping the Gov seat they better start doing something

  20. Jake says:

    He’s a legend in his own mind.

    1. Ace says:

      I’ll drink to that

  21. Crazy Joe says:

    I have a PHD in everything, I just gave myself an A in all my tests in college.

    1. hey einie says:

      youse iz smart!

  22. anonymous says:

    Are you kidding me. Reality must be a myth.

  23. ipmutt says:

    I understand when you are doing a really poor job you can sometimes think you are doing well. We see this in people who can not admit they are wrong or can not accept blame. Make Dayton must have a bad case of this to give himself this grade. Most of us would give him a D or F. Maybe some hardened democrats might give him a C for doing his best to be a hinderence. Maybe he has oldtimers disease. Keep this in mind if you think you might be tempted to vote for him next time.

  24. Bob says:

    You must be kidding me,how could he be any worse…..Foolish liberal…..

  25. Marlis says:

    I’m sorry Mr Dayton most of the state would NOT give you more than a D- . You are even more delusional than I thought giving yourself an A. prob’ly the only thing you’ve managed to do is buy two dogs. there is something kinda strange about you; are you on medication and forget to take it sometimes? I wonder about your health actually.