Mark Dayton leads DFL race for governor. Margaret Anderson who?

So, Margaret Anderson Kelliher has to be scratching her head a little bit this morning. She spent a boatload of energy and political capital winning the DFL endorsement to run for governor, and now she's playing second fiddle to former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton -- who didn't even enter the endorsement race.

A new Minnesota Public Radio News/Humphrey Institute poll shows Dayton leading Kelliher 38-28 percent among likely Democratic primary voters. Matt Entenza, who is also running in the primary, trailed at a distant third with 6 percent.

The results are "a real slap in the face to the Democratic Party," said Humphrey's political guru and professor Larry Jacobs.

Of course, it's early days. Political junkies will tell you voters really don't starting making up their minds about their candidates until the closing weeks of a race. And now that Kelliher, the Minnesota House speaker, doesn't have to spend her days haggling over the budget deal in the Legislature, she can turn her attention to making up ground on Dayton.

Whoever wins the August primary will face the Republican-endorsed Tom Emmer in November. The MPR/Humphrey poll suggests the November race remains a toss-up.

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