Fresh off being certified as the official winner of the Minneapolis mayor's race in last November's election, R.T. Rybak took to the stage of the Varsity Theater on Sunday in Dinkyton to formally announce his candidacy for governor.
Popular enough to have won a third term as mayor of the state's largest city, Rybak never the less faces some steep challenges as he seeks statewide office. The last Democrat to govern Minnesota was Rudy Perpich in 1986-1990.
In his speech, Rybak put a focus on job growth, education funding reform and transportation infrastructure upgrades to help move the state's economy forward in the recession.
"With the economic mess we are in today, our young people may be the first generation of Minnesotans who can expect to have less opportunity than their parents.," he said. "It doesn't have to be this way. We can do better."
He also took a shot at outgoing governor Tim Pawlenty and the Republicans, calling them "leaders who spend too much time telling us what can't be done, and too much time pitting us against each other."
Recently, Eric Ostermier at Smart Politics wondered out loud whether Rybak might add "big city crime fighter" to his campaign bio:
The Minneapolis Police Department's newly-released Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for October 2009 finds crime in Minnesota's largest city down 10.1 percent from one year ago, despite a 27 percent increase in unemployment during that span.
The polling group Rasmussen Reports recently asked Minnesota voters who they would support in a four-way race among DFLers. The results:
30% - R.T. Ryback 30% - Mark Dayton 8% - Margaret Anderson Kelliher 6% - Matt Entenza 5% - Some other candidate 20% - Not sure
Some of the "other" DFLers in the race include Sen. Tom Bakk and Rep. Paul Thissen, both of whom are working hard to find delegate support, the Star Tribune reported.
The same question was asked about Republican candidates. Their favored candidate has said recently he isn't running for the job:
50% - Norm Coleman 11% - Marty Seifert 5% - Laura Brod 1% - Tom Emmer 7% - Some other candidate 26% - Not sure