Mar 17, 2017 at 10:06 am
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democrat Lt. Governor Tina Smith says she will not run for governor in 2018.
Smith has long been viewed as a top contender in the gubernatorial race given her visible perch as Gov. Mark Dayton's second-in-command.
Outside Republican political groups frequently singled out Smith while laying the groundwork for the 2018 campaign.
But Smith announced she would not run in a statement posted on her Facebook page Friday afternoon.
Smith joined Dayton's ticket as lieutenant governor in 2014. She had previously served as his top aide.
Her announcement could throw open the field for Democrat candidates.
Three DFLers have already launched campaigns while some top-tier Republican candidates like House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek still publicly weigh entering the race.
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