Skip to main content

Former GOP chair Keith Downey is running for governor

He joins more than a dozen other candidates in the crowded race

The former chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party is running for governor. 

Keith Downey made the announcement Monday, joining more than a dozen people who've said they're running to replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who is not seeking reelection in 2018.

The 56-year-old from Edina served in the Minnesota House before losing a bid for the state Senate in 2012. He was elected as the chair of the state Republican Party in 2013, and served two terms before deciding to step down, hinting he may run for governor

Downey is hoping to use the connections he's made as chairman to drum up support for his candidacy, MPR News reports. And he already has been endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, a news release says

The theme of his campaign is "Make Minnesota Work for Everyone," with Downey saying in a statement: 

“I’m running because we need to make Minnesota work for everyone, not just the elites, career politicians, special interests, and insiders. I’m asking every Minnesotan to join the cause, because only together will we be successful. We must act now.”

Downey plans to focus on what he considers the biggest issues affecting Minnesotans, including jobs, reigning in government spending and overreach, and fixing the education achievement gap. 

It's a crowded race

There are now eight Republicans who've said they're running for governor in 2018, including Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson; Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman; and State Rep. Matt Dean of Dellwood.

Meanwhile, a few other Republicans – like House Speaker Kurt Daudt – have said they're considering a run. 

As for the Democrats, Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester; U.S. Rep. Tim Walz of Mankato; St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman; Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul; and state Auditor Rebecca Otto have all throw their hat in the ring.

MPR News has a list of everyone who has announced they're running. 

Next Up

Denisovan molar

MN researcher part of team behind 'revolutionary' discovery of ancient tooth in Laos

The molar found in a remote cave is believed to have belonged to a Denisovan girl who lived 164,000-130,000 years ago.

Eagle Ridge Middle School

Charges: Sting catches MN principal trying to hire child prostitute

Authorities alleged Mohamed Selim attempted to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex on Tuesday.

cub donuts 1

Nominate a 'local hero' to get a dozen Cub donuts from Salvation Army

The organization is looking for 1,000 volunteers to help with the effort in the metro.

Minnesota State Patrol helicopter windshield broken after duck flies through it.

Duck smashes through chopper window and hits State Patrol pilot

Two pilots were on the aircraft at the time, with one of them sustaining a head injury.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, May 19

It's been 805 days since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Minnesota on March 5, 2020.


Charges: Minnetonka Nordstrom employee stole $500,000 in merchandise

Store employees used a covert camera to investigate disappearing merchandise.

Smoothing concrete

Woman drives into wet concrete, gets stuck in attempt to flee police

The 53-year-old woman drove into wet concrete trying to flee police on Monday.

Jennifer Carnahan

Family of late Rep. Hagedorn sues widow Carnahan over unpaid medical expenses

The lawsuits allege that Carnahan has yet to reimburse Hagedorn's family for medical expenses despite promising to do so.

storm, severe weather, derecho

Hail and tornadoes possible Thursday in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin

Storms are expected to fire along a warm front draped across southern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 8.02.52 AM

Bde Maka Ska pavilion construction begins next week

The former lakeside food stand, home to Lola on the Lake, caught fire in 2019.

Pixabay - laptop computer dark screen

Undercover child sex sting sees 4 men arrested in St. Louis Park

One of the men is being held as he's in a position of authority of power over children.


Another Democrat has announced she's running for governor

That brings the total to five Democratic candidates.

Hennepin County Sheriff Stanek is seeking re-election – not a run for governor

This announcement ends speculation that he'd run, and makes the Republican race for governor a bit more clear.

The latest Republican to get into the governor's race says he's a 'fighter'

State Sen. David Osmek promises Trump-style campaigning.

The governor's race gets its first candidate from Greater MN

Rep. Tim Walz has been mulling it for months.

Matt Pelikan is running for attorney general

If elected, he'd be the first openly gay attorney general in Minnesota history.

After packed town hall, Rep. Tim Walz says he's mulling a run for governor

He made the comments after a town hall meeting on Thursday.

Keith Ellison confirms he's running for DNC chair

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has confirmed his candidacy to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).