Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2010

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Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2010
2006 ←
November 2, 2010
→ 2014

 Mark Dayton official photo.jpgEmmer.jpg
NomineeMark DaytonTom EmmerTom Horner
Running mateYvonne Prettner SolonAnnette MeeksJim Mulder
Popular vote919,232910,462251,487


County results

Governor before election

Tim Pawlenty

Elected Governor

Mark Dayton

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Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2010
2006 ←
November 2, 2010
→ 2014

 Mark Dayton official photo.jpgEmmer.jpg
NomineeMark DaytonTom EmmerTom Horner
Running mateYvonne Prettner SolonAnnette MeeksJim Mulder
Popular vote919,232910,462251,487


County results

Governor before election

Tim Pawlenty

Elected Governor

Mark Dayton

The 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial election was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 to elect the 40th Governor of the U.S. state of Minnesota for a four-year term to begin in January 2011. The general election was contested by the major party candidates State Representative Tom Emmer (R-Delano), former Senator Mark Dayton (DFL), and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. After a very close race, Dayton was elected Governor.[1]


Campaign history

Primary elections

The primary elections were held August 10, 2010. Dayton earned his spot by winning a very closely contested primary for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor endorsement, defeating Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Tom Horner easily defeated Rob Hahn in the Independence Party race. Endorsed Republican candidate Tom Emmer easily won the Republican nomination.[2][3]

General election

Early polls showed Emmer even with his likely DFL opponents, with Horner trailing far behind, and a large percentage of voters undecided.[4][5][6] As the race progressed, polls showed the candidates even, or Dayton with a small but significant lead.[7] The non-partisan Cook Political Report, CQ Politics and pollster Rasmussen Reports rate the gubernatorial election as a toss-up.[8][9][10][11][12] New York Times political statistician Nate Silver gave Dayton an 86 percent chance of winning, and Emmer a 14 percent chance of winning.[13]

Dayton led Emmer at the close of balloting by 8770 votes (0.42%).[14] The margin of victory was small enough to trigger an automatic recount under state law, but analysts generally thought it unlikely that Dayton's lead would be overturned.[15]


The 2010 gubernatorial election saw an exceptionally large field of candidates seeking endorsement from each party's respective convention. For the DFL and the Independence Party, this exended into a protracted primary fight that went on into August. The general election saw participation from the state's three major parties and four of the minor political parties.

General election

Defeated in primary

Dropped out


Endorsement process

Republican Party

After incumbent Governor Tim Pawlenty announced in June 2009 that he would not seek a third term,[54] the field was open for Republicans to seek their party's endorsement. At the Minnesota GOP's off-year state convention in October 2009, former Representative Marty Seifert took first place in a straw poll with 37% of the vote. Representative Tom Emmer took second place with 23%, Patricia Anderson had 14%, and the rest of the participating candidates received less than 10% each.[36][63]

Seifert took another victory during the February 2, 2010 precinct caucuses when he won a statewide straw poll of caucus attendees. Seifert garnered 50% of the vote, followed by Representative Tom Emmer with 39%. None of the other candidates got beyond single digits.[64] Delegates to the state convention, however, were more closely divided between Emmer and Seifert than otherwise indicated by the initial straw poll. Although both camps claimed a delegate lead throughout the process leading up to the state convention, the outcome of the endorsement was nothing certain, and would end up being decided on the convention floor.[65]

On April 30, 2010, Tom Emmer won the endorsement of Republican delegates over Marty Seifert at the party's state convention in Minneapolis. After Emmer won 56% of the vote on the second ballot, Seifert withdrew from the race and threw his support to Emmer. Emmer then chose Metropolitan Council member Annette Meeks as his running mate for lieutenant governor.[66]

Emmer won the August 10, 2010 primary, earning a spot on the November ballot.[67]

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party

The list of candidates seeking the DFL's nomination was long going into the February 2 caucuses, with over 11 candidates having submitted their names for the candidate preference ballot. Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton notably declined to be included on the ballot. Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak won the straw poll with 21.8% of the vote, with State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher receiving 20.1%, and "uncommitted" receiving 14.7%. Each of the other candidates received single-digit support.[68][69]

Former State Senator Steve Kelley dropped out of the race shortly after the caucuses due to disappointing results from the straw poll. State Senator Tom Bakk also dropped out on March 20, 2010, after announcing at the St. Louis County Convention that his chances of winning were slim.

On April 24, 2010, the DFL State Convention was held in Duluth. After the first ballot, State Senator John Marty withdrew from the race after seeing lower than expected support, and State Representative Tom Rukavina withdrew after the fourth ballot, choosing to endorse Kelliher. State Representative Paul Thissen withdrew after the fifth ballot, and before the results to the sixth ballot were announced, Rybak withdrew as well and endorsed Kelliher.[70] Kelliher was subsequently endorsed by the convention. Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, who had not sought the DFL endorsement but was planning to run in the primary, dropped out two days later. That left Kelliher facing Mark Dayton and former State House Minority Leader Matt Entenza in the August primary.

Shortly after the end of the 2010 legislative term, all three major DFL candidates had announced their choices for lieutenant governor. On May 21, 2010, Kelliher announced that John Gunyou would be her running mate. Gunyou is Minnetonka City Manager and was state finance commissioner in Republican Governor Arne Carlson's administration.[28] On May 24, 2010, Dayton announced that Yvonne Prettner Solon would be his running mate. Solon is a psychologist and three-term state senator.[17] On May 27, 2010, Entenza announced that Robyne Robinson would be his running mate. Robinson is a small business owner and former TV anchor.[26]

Dayton won a narrow victory over Kelliher in the August 10, 2010, primary, earning the right to serve as his party's nominee.[2] He was formally endorsed by the DFL on August 21, 2010.[71]

Independence Party

On Sunday, May 9, 2010, Tom Horner won the endorsement of the Independence Party for governor. His main opponent, Rob Hahn, said he would contest the primary.[72]

Horner won the August 10 primary, defeating Rob Hahn to earn a place on the November ballot.[67]

Primary results


At 11:50 p.m. on primary night, Dayton took the lead from Kelliher, who had held an ever-shrinking lead since the polls closed.

Democratic primary results[73]
DemocraticMark Dayton182,73841.3%
DemocraticMargaret Anderson Kelliher175,76739.8%
DemocraticMatt Entenza80,50918.2%
DemocraticPeter Idusogie3,1230.7%


Republican primary results[73]
RepublicanTom Emmer107,55882.5%
RepublicanBob Carney Jr.9,8567.6%
RepublicanLeslie Davis8,5986.6%
RepublicanOle Savior4,3963.4%


Independence Party primary results[74]
IndependenceTom Horner11,38064.2%
IndependenceRob Hahn2,53814.3%
IndependenceJohn T. Uldrich1,76610.0%
IndependencePhile Ratté1,2157.0%
IndependenceRahn V. Workcuff8154.5%


General election

Poll sourceDates administeredTom Emmer (R)Mark Dayton (DFL)Tom Horner (I)UndecidedSampling error
Public Policy PollingOctober 27–29, 201040%43%15%3%2.2%
SurveyUSAOctober 24–27, 201038%39%13%9%4%
Minnesota Public RadioOctober 21–25, 201029%41%11%20%3.6%
St. Cloud State UniversityOctober 10–21, 201030%40%19%10%5.0%
Minnesota PollOctober 18–21, 201034%41%13%12%3.9%
Rasmussen ReportsOctober 20, 201041%44%10%5%4.0%
Survey USAOctober 11–13, 201037%42%14%7%3.7%
Rasmussen ReportsOctober 6, 201038%40%15%7%4%
Humphrey Institute/MPRSeptember 22–26, 201027%38%16%19%3.6%
Minnesota PollSeptember 20–23, 201030%39%18%13%4.1%
Rasmussen ReportsSeptember 22, 201042%41%9%2%4%
Survey USASeptember 12–14, 201036%38%18%4%3.9%
Humphrey Institute/MPRAugust 31, 201034%34%13%19%3.6 - 5.3%
Rasmussen ReportsAugust 12, 201036%45%10%10%4.0%
Survey USAAugust 2–4, 201032%46%9%13%2.7%
Minnesota PollJuly 26–29, 201030%40%13%17%4.3%
Rasmussen ReportsJuly 19, 201036%40%10%14%4.5%
Survey USAJune 14–16, 201035%38%12%15%2.5%
Decision Resources, Ltd.May 28 - June 2, 201028%40%18%14%3.5%
Rasmussen ReportsMay 24, 201037%35%12%16%4.5%
Humphrey Institute/MPRMay 13–16, 201031%35%9%25%5.8%
Survey USAMay 3–5, 201042%34%9%15%4.1%
Rasmussen ReportsMarch 10, 201035%38%7%20%3%

Primary election


Poll sourceDates administeredMark DaytonMatt EntenzaMargaret Anderson KelliherUndecidedSampling error
Survey USAAugust 2–4, 201043%22%27%8%4.5%
Minnesota PollJuly 26–29, 201040%17%30%13%7.3%
Survey USAJune 14–16, 201039%22%26%11%4.5%
Humphrey Institute / MPRMay 13–16, 201038%6%28%28%8.75%


2010 gubernatorial election results, Minnesota[14]
DFLMark Dayton919,23243.63%-2.07%
RepublicanTom Emmer910,46243.21%-3.49%
IndependenceTom Horner251,48711.94%+5.54%
GrassrootsChris Wright7,5160.36%n/a
GreenFarheen Hakeem6,1880.29%-0.21%
Ecology DemocracyKen Pentel6,1800.29%n/a
Resource PartyLinda Eno4,0920.19%n/a
Total votes2,106,979100%
DFL gain from Republican

Ballot recount

Olmsted County, Minnesota officials recounting votes on November 29, 2010

The Gubernatorial Election in Minnesota was too close to call on November 2, 2010. An automatic ballot recount occurred, as Mark Dayton's lead over Tom Emmer was less than one half of one percent. This recount was carried out by the Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, as part of a State Canvassing Board, which consists of the secretary of state, two justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and two judges of a Minnesota district court.[75]


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  73. ^ a b "The 2010 Results Maps". Politico.Com. http://www.politico.com/2010/maps/#/Governor/2010/MN. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  74. ^ "Election Reporting". Electionresults.sos.state.mn.us. 2010-08-10. http://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/20100810/ElecRslts.asp?M=S&Races=0331. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  75. ^ http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/ss/ssrecount.htm Minnesota House of Representatives, Retrieved, November 3rd, 2010.

External links

Official campaign websites