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.