Possibly joining what is increasingly looking like a crowded field of Democrats, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz says he is mulling a gubernatorial run.
The 1st District representative told MPR he will make a decision on whether to make a run for governor by April, saying that the rural/urban political divide "has to end."
Being a progressive Democrat who still gets support in "a more conservative area," he told the radio station this gives him the right profile for the job.
Walz's district includes the southern portion of the state, a vast area that covers cities like Rochester and Mankato as well as the Minnesota/Iowa border.
He held on to his seat in an incredibly tight race this past November, keeping the 1st district blue even though the majority of rural Minnesota counties voted for Donald Trump in the presidential race.
So far three Democratic candidates have confirmed they will run to take the governorship when Mark Dayton steps down next year: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and state Rep. Erin Murphy.
8th District Rep. Rick Nolan is also considering a run, while on the Republican side state Sen. David Osmek told the Pioneer Press this week he's thinking of running. The Duluth News Tribune has a full list of those confirmed or considering running so far.
Positive reaction at Walz town hall
Walz's comments came after he held a town hall before a packed house at Rochester Community and Technical College Thursday, with the LaCross Tribune reporting that he got a standing ovation just for showing up at a time when some Republicans are avoiding town halls.
Throughout his appearance before a mostly friendly crowd, the newspaper notes Walz stressed the need for "moderation and bipartisanship" across many topics, saying that political problems posed today are all-too-often presented as either/or choices.
In areas such as the environment, for example, he said that conservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive.
Similarly he struck a more conciliatory tone towards the president, citing the importance of getting the Republican party's proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act after receiving thousands of calls from concerned constituents about its repeal, KIMT reports.
After saying he didn't like executive orders under President Obama, never mind Trump, he said: "I would just ask [President Trump], come work with us. There’s folks here, we want to fix this, if you’ve got fixes to ACA, we’ll help you fix it. If you want to call it 'Trump Care' and it works I don’t care, make it work."