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Minnesota governor Mark Dayton marries one-time campaign aide 41 years his junior

"I know our age difference (I am 73, she is 32) will surprise many of you."
Dayton ana orke

Former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has announced his marriage to a former campaign aide who is 41 years his junior.

Dayton, who left office in January 2019, announced on Sunday that "after twenty years of bachelorhood, I am now a married man!"

His wife is Ana Orke – now Ana Dayton – a former campaign aide with whom he reconnected in recent years.

Ana, he said, "is smart, compassionate, tough, funny, and impossibly good at Scrabble!"

"She is also 41 years my junior," he continues.

"I know our age difference (I am 73; she is 32) will surprise many of you. The truth is, the feelings that developed between Ana and me, given our age difference, surprised us too, at first.

"But as we grew to know each other, we realized that the love binding us is far deeper and more meaningful than the years that separate us. You will not be surprised to learn that politics (in addition to winning at board games) is important to us both."

Ana Orke worked for Dayton's gubernatorial campaign in 2010 having previously worked for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign during the 2008 primaries.

She was also an intern for Dayton during an earlier run for office, according to this January 2008 article for Northfield News.

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Dayton, the great-grandson of Dayton's department store founder George Dayton, became Minnesota's 40th governor in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014, but opted not to run for a third term.

His first marriage was to Alida Messinger – a member of the Rockefeller family – with whom he had two sons, Eric and Andrew. They divorced in 1986.

"As I celebrate the gift of new love and joy in my own life, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a most joyful holiday season," Dayton's post concludes.  "May the New Year bring to you, your loved ones, and our shared community health, happiness and, out of the dark difficulties of these hard past times, a brighter tomorrow."

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