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Chris Coleman drops out of Minnesota governor race

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman listens to others as city and county emergency services leaders discuss Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, how to prepare for potential oil train disasters. Don Davis / Forum News Service file photo

ST. PAUL — Last week's precinct caucus governor straw poll has taken its second victim: former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

"I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received," the Democrat said Monday, Feb. 12. "So, it is with a heavy heart that I announce today the suspension of my campaign for governor of Minnesota."

State Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis dropped out of the race the day after the Feb. 6 caucuses.

Democrats still will have plenty of choices after the poll showed: U.S. Rep. Tim Walz had 31 percent; State Auditor Rebecca Otto, 20 percent; state Rep. Erin Murphy; 13 percent; Coleman, 12 percent; state Rep. Tina Liebling, 6 percent; and Thissen, 5 percent.

Democrats are to meet in a state convention the first weekend of June to endorse a governor candidate, as well as two U.S. Senate races and other contests. But the final decision about what Democrat will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot may not come until the Aug. 14 primary election.

Coleman served as St. Paul mayor 12 years.

"The 2018 DFL field for governor is very strong," Coleman said. "As the candidates continue to campaign, I encourage each of you to stay true to our shared progressive values: good jobs for working families, universal health care and a retirement that we can all depend on."

In his announcement that the campaign is ending, Coleman did not endorse anyone else.

On the Republican side, 2014 governor candidate Jeff Johnson received 45 percent support in the non-binding poll, former Republican state Chairman Keith Downey had 15 percent and Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens and teacher Phillip Parrish got 12 percent each. All remain in the race.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.