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Hatch fundraising letter confirms run for governor

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Depending on how Mike Hatch fares in the struggle for the DFL nomination, the campaign could pit two of the state's top elected officials against each other. (MPR file photo)

St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) Attorney General Mike Hatch is running for governor next year.

The 56-year-old Democrat will make it official on Monday, he told supporters in a fundraising letter first reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Wednesday and later obtained by The Associated Press.

The appeal on "Mike Hatch for Governor" stationery went out to about 5,000 supporters earlier this week, said campaign spokeswoman Kari Erickson. In it, Hatch wrote, "I will announce my candidacy for Governor on October 24, and I ask for your support."

The committee also mailed out bumper stickers and "Mike Hatch for Governor" brochures.

Phones were answered "Hatch for Governor" at the campaign's number Wednesday, although Erickson said the office wouldn't open for business until Monday. A campaign Web site listed at the bottom of the letter, www.hatch2006.org, was not yet online.

Hatch declined to comment Wednesday and doesn't plan to speak with media until his announcement, said Leslie Sandberg, a spokeswoman with the attorney general's office.

The letter is the first time Hatch has publicly confirmed his intentions to seek the state's highest office. But the move has long been expected. The Minnesota Republican Party last week unveiled a Web site, www.mikeunhatched.com, to attack his positions.

Depending on how Hatch fares in the struggle for the DFL nomination, the campaign could pit two of the state's top elected officials against each other. Hatch occupies the office across the hall from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, who's expected to seek a second term.

The news underwhelmed Pawlenty, who said he plans his own announcement later this year.

"It's no surprise to me, and I don't think it'll be a surprise to the people of Minnesota that he continues his now multi-decade quest to be governor," Pawlenty told reporters after a news conference about a Hurricane Katrina fundraising effort.

Hatch ran for governor in 1990 and 1994. He was elected attorney general in 1998 and re-elected in 2002.

Other Democrats seeking the gubernatorial nomination include state Sen. Steve Kelley, former legislator and nonprofit founder Bud Philbrook, real estate developer Kelly Doran and frequent candidate Ole Savior. State Sen. Becky Lourey also has indicated interest.

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