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Gubernatorial Candidate Profile
Mark Dayton
By Karen Louise Boothe
February 26, 1998
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0 14.4 | See the other candidates

Mark Dayton likes to set himself apart from the pool of gubernatorial candidatesas the most independent thinker.

He says his political agenda is progressive, but one he believes mainstream DFL voters will support him.

Dayton: I support living wage legislation that would require every government contract in Minnesota to pay a living wage to every worker. I also have a proposal that would require every employer to provide health insurance for every Minnesota employee.

Other proposals of his include broadening the sales tax to help fund schools and reduce property taxes. If elected, he'd try to designate the short legislative session in the year 2000 to undo existing legislation which he says makes government less efficient.

Dayton: ... reporting requirements, regulations that have gotten so convoluted...than more and more and more.

Dayton says one factor in his favor is his ability to manage state government.

Dayton: I've spent the last 20 years as the chief executive of three different state agencies, three political organizations....ultimately be seen.

But Dayton isn't banking on winning the party endorsement. It's a system he says he once supported, but no longer trusts. That's why he joins most of the other DFL candidates in his promise to campaign through the state primary in September.

Dayton: You can't lead after you've promised everyone in the DFL entrenched hierarchy... you can't lead when you have to be on your knees and plead.

Dayton says he's a lousy fund-raiser and though he has the resources to carry his campaign financially, he won't use his wealth to bolster himself over the other candidates unfairly. Dayton, like the others, says he'll abide by the state's public campaign finance program, which provides candidates some $700 thousand if they agree to limit their spending to about $2.5 million.

Dayton says he jumped into the race later than most of his challengers, who have been operating their shadow campaigns for at least the last two years. But it's been clear that Dayton himself was, if not outwardly campaigning, mining for support by paying for big splashy parties at both the state and national conventions in 1996.

Dayton recognizes that while he enjoys a fair amount of name recognition, he faces competing legacies with names like Humphrey, Mondale, and Freeman.

Dayton: But if you're running for governor, would you rather have a surname associated with a former vice president, senator, governor, or shopping bag? Or worse yet, with a credit card with a rising monthly balance!

Other DFL gubernatorial hopefuls include Senator Doug Johnson and Senator John Marty - who won the party's nomination in 1994.

Mark Dayton's Web Site

Quotations are excerpted from audio samples.