State Rep. Erin Murphy, a nurse from St. Paul who has spent much of her five terms in the legislature pushing for women’s health and affordable childcare, announced Thursday that she intends to replace outgoing governor Mark Dayton.
Murphy is the first to officially leap into the 2018 governor’s race, though rumors of other DFL women candidates abound.
“Too many are at risk of falling further behind, and too many are not getting the opportunities they need to make progress,” Murphy wrote in a statement that alludes to mending the state’s regional and racial differences.
“I fear that the results of this long and painful election have the potential to put more families, young people and new Minnesotans in that same position and do more harm. … We need to remember that there is enough of the good life in Minnesota for all of our neighbors, in every community, to enjoy, and work to make that a reality.”
State Republicans capitalized on Minnesota’s Obamacare woes in the weeks leading up to the election to capture a majority of seats in both houses of the legislature. Murphy’s support for the Affordable Care Act – namely birth control coverage – could become fodder for Republican challengers.
Dayton’s right-hand woman, Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith, is also poised to run for the governor's seat. Throughout Dayton's second term, Smith’s plentiful appearances throughout rural Minnesota at the side of everyday farmers and teachers have fueled speculation that she will make a bid. Smith and Dayton continued to campaign for universal pre-K, even though neither were on the ballot.
Another woman in the crowded field may be Attorney General Lori Swanson. Former Rep. Ryan Winkler announced earlier this week that he may run for attorney general -- though only if Swanson decided to “pursue higher office” instead of seeking re-election.