Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Governor Mark Dayton is getting all his ducks in a row ahead of Election Day 2014
First with a campaign ad released online last week. Then, this week's announcement of a new running mate, his Chief of Staff Tina Smith.
"I'm going to be listening to Minnesotans, from all different parts of the state, & helping to lay the ground work with all of you, not only for a winning campaign, but for another four years of progress," Smith said during her introduction in St. Paul on Tuesday.
It's a good start to what's already been a good year in St. Paul. The Governor is credited with shaping a healthy economy, lowering unemployment and giving a major boost to K-12 education, possibly positioning him for another election win.
"Across Minnesota we're hearing a pretty consistent message that we've turned this corner now and things are improving," said Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth).
The Governor is expected to continue his focus on the economy, which has been named the 5th fastest growing in the country.
"We started out with over a billion dollar budget, last legislative session we were almost $700 million in the hole. Now we have a projected surplus of $800 million dollars," said Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing).
The Governor is facing immense pressure from both sides of the Copper Nickel debate as Polymet moves closer to a decision on whether it will be allowed to set up shop in the state.
He's also on the hook for the glitches involving the state's new health exchange.
"Going forward we're going to have to work out some tweaks with MNsure. I think that's something we're going to hear a lot about this election cycle," said Rep. Melin.
"We have a lot of work left to do here in Minnesota. The biggest issues, funding transportation needs, and how do we support business development across greater Minnesota," said Rep. Simonson.
Issues DFL lawmakers say they'll work on with the Governor with 270 days and counting until Election Day.
The Governor faces several GOP challengers vying for his seat, including Former House Speaker Marty Seifert who won Tuesday's straw poll.