Who will it be in 2006? Updated: 02/09/2005
Possible DFL candidates for U.S. Senate
St. Paul - Sen. Mark Dayton's announcement today that
he won't be seeking re-election to his U.S. Senate
seat in 2006 sparked a burst of speculation about who
will be running for Minnesota's U.S. Senate from the
Democratic, Republican, and Independence parties.
On the Democratic side, there are several names of
local officeholders which have been mentioned as
possible candidates. They include, Minneapolis
attorney Mike Ciresi, State Rep. Matt Entenza,
Comedian Al Franken, State Sen. Dean Johnson, State
Sen. Steve Kelley, Hennepin County Attorney Amy
Klobuchar, former U.S. Rep. Bill Luther, U.S. Rep.
Betty McCollum, Rebecca Yanishch, and Patty
Klobuchar told the Associated Press that she is
"seriously considering it." Ciresi said he would
consider it. Kelley's aides said he has expressed
interest. Johnson and Luther said they wouldn't rule
it out. Franken said he will make a decision soon on
whether or not he will run.
Attorney General Mike Hatch and Democratic activist
Buck Humphrey, who ran for Secretary of State in 2002,
both said they are not interested in running.
"Now it's a wide open game on our side for sure...It's
going to be a challenge for the party to find the best
possible candidate," Humphrey said.
Those lining up in the Republican party include former
U.S. Sen. Rod Grahams, U.S. Rep. Gil Gutkenecht, US.
Rep. Mark Kennedy, and Secretary of State Mary
Ron Ebensteiner, the state Republican Party Chairman,
seized on the news as a sign of Minnesota as a
political toss-up state.
"We have always expected this to be a wide-open and
hard-fought race and Senator Dayton's decision to drop
out only confirms our expectations that this is a seat
that Minnesota Republicans can win," Ebensteiner said.
And don't forget about the Independence Party. Former
U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley, who served out the remainder
of U.S. Paul Wellstone's term after he died in a plane
crash, has been mentioned. The Chicago Sun-Times is
also reporting an unattributed story that former Gov.
Jesse Ventura is considering a run for the seat under
the Independence Party banner.