Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak made his bid for MN Governor official when he filed papers to form a gubernatorial election committee last Thursday, November 5. The bid comes as no surprise to Minnesotans who had been working diligently to convince him to run for governor for several months via a website (currently offline) and Facebook page, but critics note the fact that Rybak’s filing came just two days after he was re-elected to a third term as mayor. The Republican Party of Minnesota sued Rybak for allegedly financing his gubernatorial campaign with mayoral committee funds. Ordered to reimburse the R. T. for Minneapolis Committee $26,500 (for an opinion survey) from his gubernatorial committee funds, Rybak may have some advice for current MN Governor Tim Pawlenty. The Governor has been touring the country under the guise of concerned governor, but has clearly begun his [unofficial] 2012 presidential campaign by calling national attention to himself in places like Iowa, an important base for presidential candidates. At least as far back as June of this year Pawlenty has been fundraising, and several weeks ago formed a PAC co-chaired by William Strong, an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, and lobbyist Vin Weber.
Whether there will be an investigation of Pawlenty’s [pre-]campaign spending and how Minnesotans will ultimately judge him when they go to the polls in 2012 is a separate matter, but for R. T. Rybak the $26,500 (spent on a survey) doesn’t appear to make much difference to voters. According to Lawrence Jacobs, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, it’s more a distraction than a long-term problem.
R. T. Rybak has been the mayor of Minneapolis since 2001 and, as expected, easily won re-election last Tuesday capturing 73.63% of the vote. During his previous two terms, Rybak instituted reforms that “saved taxpayers millions by reducing $80 million of inherited debt, reigning in government spending and producing six balanced budgets in four years.” He has set an aggressive agenda for Minneapolis which includes creating jobs, revitalizing North Minneapolis, attacking homelessness, reducing the City’s energy consumption and keeping Minneapolis safe. Recently rated America’s safest city among the country’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas by Forbes.com, the Minneapolis metropolitan area was found to rank among the lowest in crime, workplace fatalities, traffic-related deaths and natural disaster risk.
His forward-thinking vision for the City includes the implementation of programs like Access Minneapolis, which addresses transportation development, and Minneapolis Promise that “supports career counseling in every school, gives thousands of youth summer jobs and provides free college access to any Minneapolis high school graduate.”
Rybak, whose first gubernatorial endorsement came from Teamsters Local 120, has agreed to abide by the DFL endorsement which will be voted on at the DFL State Convention in Duluth, MN on April 24, 2009.
For links to other gubernatorial candidate websites, see my earlier post. More recently, papers have been filed by Ole Savior (D), Peter Roess (D), Richard Klatte (Green), Rahn Workcuff (Independence), Felix Montez, Chris Wright and Harley Swarm.