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US Rep. Nolan won't run for Minnesota governor

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn.

DULUTH, Minn. — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan announced on Friday, June 2, that he will not run for Minnesota governor in 2018.

Nolan, DFL-Crosby, had contemplated running for the open seat for several months, but on Friday he said the "challenges and consequences of the issues facing our nation in Washington" are too important to walk away from. He said he made the decision after consulting family and friends.

"America is at a tipping point and I feel compelled to devote all of my energy and experience to moving our nation forward — and to stopping powerful elements determined to roll back a century of American progress. ... These destructive forces cannot be allowed to succeed," Nolan said in a statement.

Incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will not seek re-election in 2018. Nolan's announcement leaves a still-crowded field of declared candidates for the open seat.

Democrats who have said they plan to run for Minnesota governor next year include U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, state Rep. Erin Murphy, state Rep. Tina Liebling and State Auditor Rebecca Otto.

Republicans who have declared their candidacy include Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Rep. Matt Dean and Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman.

Nolan had remained relatively quiet on a potential gubernatorial run since a group calling itself the Coalition to Draft Rick Nolan formed earlier this year. Nolan previously said he hadn't been involved in the coalition, but he was giving the idea serious consideration out of respect for the group. In April, Nolan told MinnPost that he was leaning toward running for governor.

On Friday, Nolan thanked supporters both in the 8th Congressional District and statewide for encouraging him to run for governor. However, "some of the strongest sentiments have come from constituents who want me to continue the successful work I've been able to do in Congress," he said. "My decision also reflects and recognizes the tremendous effort put forth by the thousands of people across the 8th District who have worked so diligently to give us hard-fought victories over the last three election cycles."

Nolan won re-election to the 8th Congressional District seat in November by a narrow margin, defeating Republican candidate Stewart Mills by a 0.56 percent margin. He is in his third term representing the 8th District; he previously served in Congress from 1975-81.