Council member Don Samuels says he's exploring run for Mpls. mayor

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Another name has emerged as a possible candidate to replace Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak when his term expires next year.

The Star Tribune reports that longtime city council member Don Samuels announced Friday that he will explore a bid for the position.

Rybak announced Thursday that will not seek a fourth term in office. In the announcement on his blog on the city's website, Rybak cited that, among other reasons, he's stepping aside to get more balance in his life after years of personal sacrifice -- despite rumors that the mayor may have political aspirations in Washington.

Samuels, a 10-year member of the city council representing Ward 5, said in his announcement that former Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan will chair his exploratory committee.

Samuels has long been a Rybak supporter and has backed the mayor on such initiatives as the new Vikings stadium.

With the announcement, Samuels joins a crowded field of other potential candidates -- which includes fellow city council members Gary Schiff and Betsy Hodges, as well as school board member Hussein Samatar and former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes.

A blogger from the website MN Progressive Project also reported Friday that, according to "reliable information," Minneapolis hotel magnate Jim Graves was being encouraged to make a run for the office.

Graves recently returned to his hotel business full-time after unsuccessfully challenging U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for her seat in Washington in November.

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