By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The election may be 13 months away, but candidates in the race for governor are staking out their positions in an attempt to stand out in a crowded field.

Of the six announced DFL candidates, State Auditor Rebecca Otto is making a big play for Bernie Sanders supporters.

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In the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced a much tougher than expected battle from the left with the candidacy of Sanders.

In Minnesota’s caucuses, Sanders crushed Clinton by almost 30 percentage points. So it’s not a surprise that one DFL candidate for governor is pushing hard for a Sanders-like agenda.

(credit: CBS)

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Otto is backing a tax on carbon emissions that supporters say would provide an incentive for companies to curb emissions that contribute to global warming. Critics say that plan would lead to dramatically higher fuel, electricity and natural gas prices.

Otto is also calling for guaranteed universal health care.

“The time is now,” she said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “We are at a watershed moment, and President Trump continues to highlight that because we have health care insecurity right now.”

The Republican field is also crowded with at least six announced candidates and others reportedly considering getting in the race.

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The biggest questions currently surround former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. While he insists he’s retired from politics, he has also not shut the door completely to a run for his old job.

Esme Murphy