Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2010

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In the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 2010, held on November 2, 2010, Democrat Mark Dayton defeated Republican Tom Emmer and Independent Tom Horner. Incumbent Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, was term-limited.

In the August 10, 2010 primary elections, Horner and Emmer won very easy victories, while Dayton had stiff competition from House Member Margaret Kelliher, ultimately winning without a majority.

The race was the last of the 2010 gubernatorial races to be concluded, with recounts and legal challenges last over a month, before Emmer conceded to Dayton on December 8, 2010.

November 2, 2010 general election results

By mid-November, after all precincts reported and the state board of canvassers certified the initial results, Mark Dayton was ahead by 8,749. Under Minnesota law, statewide races where the margin in less than 0.5% trigger an automatic recount. The Minnesota Secretary of State began the recount on November 29, 2010 and finished the first part of the process on December 3, 2010.[1]

On December 8, 2010, Emmer conceded the race.

Governor/Lt. Governor of Minnesota, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Dayton/Yvonne Prettner Solon 43.6% 919,232
     Republican Tom Emmer/Annette Meeks 43.2% 910,462
     Independence Tom Horner/James A. Mulder 11.9% 251,487
     Grassroots Party Chris Wright/Edwin H. Engelmann 0.4% 7,516
     Green Farheen Hakeem/Dan Dittmann 0.3% 6,188
     Ecology Democracy Party Ken Pentel/Erin Wallace 0.3% 6,180
     The Resource Party Linda S. Eno/Howard B. Hanson 0.2% 4,092
     Write-In Various 0.1% 1,864
Total Votes 2,107,021
Election Results via Minnesota Secretary of State

Inauguration and transition

Inaugural date

The Inauguration was held January 3, 2011.

Had a winner not been declared before that day, Governor Tim Pawlenty would have remained the sitting executive with full powers until the election was resolved.

Transition team

Democrat Mark Dayton launched a transition wesbite at Dayton Transition. He named Tina Smith and Lee Sheehy as co-chairs of the transition.[2]

Ruth Orrick and Michele Kelm-Helgen were also announced as senior advisers. Heading the entire transition effort was Dana Anderson as Transition Chief of Staff and Katharine Tinucci as Communications Director.

August 10, 2010 primary

2010 Race for Governor - Independence Party Primary[3]
Candidates Percentage
Rob Hahn (I) 14.3%
Tom Horner (I) 64.2%
Phille Ratte (I) 7.0%
John T. Ulritch (I) 10.0%
Rahn V. Workcuff (I) 4.5%
Total votes 441,573
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[4]
Candidates Percentage
Robert S. Carney, Jr. (R) 7.5%
Leslie Davis (R) 6.6%
Tom Emmer (R) 82.4%
Oloveuse Scorpio Savior (R) 3.3%
Total votes 130,198
2010 Race for Governor - Democrat Primary[5]
Candidates Percentage
Mark Dayton (D) 41.0%
Matt Entenza (D) 18.2%
Peter Idusogie (D) 0.7%
Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D) 40.1%
Total votes 441,573

The Democratic Farm Labor Party's nominating convention trimmed a long list of hopefuls; four long-shot candidates endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher after she won the party's endorsement. However, both Mark Dayton, who ultimately won the primary, and Matt Entenza focused on the primary rather than the party endorsement and forced a competitive primary.

The Republicans arguably had an more promising outcome for the party as a whole at their convention, where Tom Emmer was the outright winner and enjoyed the backing of all his competitors, making for a much easier primary victory.

Race ratings

See also: Gubernatorial elections 2010, Race tracking

2010 Race Rankings Minnesota
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report[6] Toss-up
Congressional Quarterly Politics[7] Toss-up
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball[8] Leans Democratic
Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard[9] Leans Democratic
The Rothenberg Political Report[10] Toss-up Tilting Democrat
Overall Call Democratic


3. Rothenberg moved race from "Pure Toss-up" to "Toss-up Tilting Democrat" on October 28th.

2. Larry J. Sabato moved race from "Toss-up" to "Leans Democratic" as of October 24th.

1. Rasmussen moved races from "Toss-up" to "Leans Democratic" following August 12th poll results.


General election polling

Rasmussen Reports

2010 Race for Minnesota Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Emmer (R) Dayton (D) Horner (I) Other Don't Know
October 6, 2010[11] 38% 40% 15% 1% 5%
September 22, 2010[12] 42% 41% 9% 6% 2%
August 12, 2010[13] 36% 45% 10% - 9%
(Sample)[14] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

2010 Race for Minnesota Governor - Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Date Reported Emmer (R) Dayton (D) Horner (I) Other Don't Know
September 20-23, 2010[15] 30% 39% 18% 1% 12%
(Sample) n=949 MoE=+/- 4.1% p=0.05

Primary election polling

2010 Race for Minnesota Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Emmer (R) Dayton (D) Horner (I) Don't Know
July 19, 2010[16] 36% 40% 10% 14%
May 24, 2010[17] 37% 35% 12% 16%
March 10, 2010[18] 37% 38% 7% 20%
2010 Race for Minnesota Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Emmer (R) Kelliher(D) Horner (I) Don't Know
July 19, 2010 35% 40% 11% 14%
May 24, 2010 38% 36% 11% 15%
March 10, 2010 37% 34% 10% 18%
2010 Race for Minnesota Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Emmer (R) Entenza(D) Horner (I) Don't Know
July 19, 2010 36% 37% 12% 15%
May 24, 2010 37% 34% 12% 17%
March 10, 2010 37% 28% 8% 26%


The November Ballot – Who Made It? Minnesota Governor[19]
Nominee Affiliation
Mark Dayton Democrat
Tom Emmer Republican
Farheen Hakeem Green
Tom Horner Independence
Linda S. Eno Independent (The Resource Party)
Ken Pentel Independent (Ecology Democracy Party)
Thomas Christopher "Chris" Wright Independent (The Grassroots Party)
Diana Newbery write-in (Socialist Workers Party)
This lists candidates who won their state's primary or convention, or who were unopposed, and who were officially certified for the November ballot by their state's election authority.

Minnesota elects a governor and a lieutenant governor on the same ticket. The Independence Party, which has five tickets going into the primary, is not the same as a candidate who is running asan Independent. Such candidates may still affiliate with a third party during their campaign. There are three tickets composed of candidates who are Independents.


  • Former Senator Mark Dayton
  • with state Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon for Lieutenant Governor
  • Matt Entenza previously a member of the State House
  • with Robyne Robinson for Lieutenant Governor
  • Peter Idusogie
  • with Lady Jayne Fontaine for Lieutenant Governor
  • State Representative Margaret Anderson Kelliher won her party's endorsement on April 24, 2010
  • with Minnetonka City Manager John Gunyou for Lieutenant Governor
  • state Representative Tom Rukavina


  • Farheen Hakeem
  • with Dan Dittmann for Lieutenant Governor


  • Rob "Robbob" Hahn
  • with Thomas J. Harens,a former state Representative and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, for Lieutenant Governor
  • Tom Horner was officially endorsed by the Independence Party on March 2, 2010
  • with James A. "Jim" Mulder for Lieutenant Governor
  • Phil Ratté
  • with Gayle-Lynn Lemaster for Lieutenant Governor
  • John T. "Jack" Uldrich
  • with Stephen Williams
  • Rahn V. Workcuff
  • with Mark F. Workcuff


The Resource Party

  • Linda S. Eno
  • with Howard B. Hanson for Lieutenant Governor

Ecology Democracy Party

  • Ken Pentel
  • with Erin Wallace for Lieutenant Governor

Grassroots Party

  • Thomas Christopher "Chris" Wright
  • with Edwin H. Engelmann


  • Robert S. "Bob" Carney, Jr.
  • with William McGaughey for Lieutenant Governor
  • Leslie Davis
  • with Gregory K. Soderberg for Lieutenant Governor
  • State Representative Tom Emmer
  • with Annette T. Meeks for Lieutenant Governor
  • Oloveuse Scorpio "Ole" Savior
  • with Todd "Elvis" Anderson for Lieutenant Governor

Socialist Workers' Party

  • Diana Newberry, as write-in

Issues in the race

Same sex marriage

Where Minnesotan social mores truly lie on the issue of same sex marriages and civil unions came into the gubernatorial race. Republicans had a chance at retaining the seat and Tom Emmer, the GOP nominee, was the only major candidate to be opposed to legalizing same sex marriages. Hoping to boost Emmer's chances, Minneapolis' Catholic Archbishop, John Clayton Nienstedt, made a commercial, available on YouTube and mailed out to area Catholics, in which he espoused a socially conservative stance on same sex weddings. The eight-minute spot was created by the Knights of Columbus and was mailed to 800,000 Catholic voters through an anonymous donation.[20]

As reported by Hot Air, the video's timing came just after a poll that asked respondents about their own views on same sex marriage and on how it might affect their voting decisions.[21] Lawrence Research spoke to 695 registered voters on such topics as who they would vote for, among Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer, and Independent Tom Horner, given the candidates stances on same sex marriages. Voters were also specifically asked about the likelihood they would switch support if a candidate they previously planned to vote for took a position on same sex marriage they disagreed with.[22]

Lawrence Research found Minnesota voters to be in favor of legally limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, in favor of keeping all decisions about legal aspects on marriages under voter control, and likely to make a voting decision for a gubernatorial candidate based, at least in part, on candidates marriage stances.[23]

In addition to the video featuring Archbishop Nienstedt, the National Organization for Marriage produced its own ad.

National Organization for Marriage' 'The Most Important Civil Right' ad.

However, the poll's credibility was vulnerable to attacks due to the wording of questions and to the fact that it was commissioned by the National Organization for Marriage, and released through the Minnesota Family Council.[24] The NOM sponsored poll found a larger margin of Minnesotans opposing legalizing same-sex marriage than another recent poll run by Minnesota Public Radio News and the Humphrey Institute.[25] The latter polls also found that a majority of voters supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. According to the MPR-HHH poll, only 40% of voters supported same sex marriage, while 64% (including 56% of those who planned to vote for Emmer) backed civil unions.

Early in 2010, Minnesota's state House held its first hearing on same sex marriage after three homosexual couples in Hennepin County sues the state, alleging that current marriage laws violate due process and equality before the law.[26]

Gubernatorial electoral history

1998 Gubernatorial Results[27]
Candidates Percentage
Jesse Ventura (REF) 37.0%
Norm Coleman (R) 34.3%
Herbert H. “Skip” Humphrey, III (D) 28.1%
Ken Pentel (G) 0.3%
Frank Germann (L) 0.1%
Chris Wright (GR) 0.1%
Fancy Ray McCloney (PCH) 0%
Thomas A. Fiske (SW) 0%
Total votes 2,089,120
2002 Gubernatorial Results[28]
Candidates Percentage
Tim Pawlenty (R) 44.4%
Roger Moe (D) 36.5%
Timothy Penny (INDC) 16.2%
Ken Pentel (G) 2.2%
Booker Hodges (I) 0.4%
David Gatchell (I) 0.2%
Kari Sachs (SW) 0.1%
Lawrence Aeshliman (CNSTP) 0.1%
Total votes 2,251,133
2006 Gubernatorial Results[29]
Candidates Percentage
Tim Pawlenty (R) 46.7%
Mike Hatch (D) 45.7%
Peter Hutchinson (I) 6.4%
Ken Pentel (G) 0.5%
Walt Brown (QRT) 0.4%
Leslie Davis (AM) 0.2%
Total votes 2,201,988

Presidential electoral history

2000 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 45.4%
Al Gore (D) 47.9%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 47.6%
John Kerry (D) 51.1%
2008 Presidential Results[30]
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 43.8%
Barack Obama (D) 54.1%

1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 31.9%
Bill Clinton (D) 43.5%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 35.0%
Bill Clinton (D) 51.1%

External links

Candidate Pages

See also


  1. Minnesota Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL RESULTS GENERAL November 2, 2010," updated November 30, 2010 at 14:00, accessed November 12, 2010 and November 30, 2010
  2. Dayton Transition, "MARK DAYTON ANNOUNCES TRANSITION TEAM LEADERSHIP," November 17, 2010
  3. Minnesota Secretary of State, "Unofficial primary results," August 11, 2001
  4. Minnesota Secretary of State, "Unofficial primary results," August 11, 2001
  5. Minnesota Secretary of State, "Unofficial primary results," August 11, 2001
  6. The Cook Political, “Governors: Race Ratings”
  7. CQ Politics, “2010 Race Ratings: Governors”
  8. Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball', “2010 Governor Ratings”
  9. Rasmussen Reports', “Election 2010: Scorecard Ratings”
  10. Rothenberg Political Report, “Governor Ratings”
  11. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Minnesota Governor: Dayton (D), Emmer (R) Remain in Tight Race”, October 8, 2010
  12. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Minnesota Governor: Emmer (R), Dayton (D) Now In Near Tie”, September 24, 2010
  13. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Minnesota Governor: Dayton (D) 45%, Emmer 36%, Horner (I) 10%”, August 13, 2010
  14. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at www.RasmussenReports.com]
  15. Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “Minnesota Poll: Dayton still has edge on Emmer: In a fairly static race, the IP's Tom Horner showed the biggest gains since July. ”, September 26, 2010
  16. Rasmussen Reports, “Toplines: Minnesota Governor 2010”, July 21, 2010
  17. Rasmussen Reports, “Minnesota Governor: Three-Way Race Finds GOP, DFL Neck-and-Neck ”, May 26, 2010
  18. Rasmussen Reports, “Minnesota Governor: Anything Goes At This Point ”, March 11, 2010
  19. Minnesota Department of State, “Statewide Results for Governor”, accessed September 14, 2010
  20. LGBTQNation, "MN Archdiocese sending anti-gay marriage DVD to 800,000 parishioners," September 20, 2010
  21. Hot Air, "Gay Marriage and the MN Governor Race: The Game-Changer?," September 24, 2010
  22. [https://web.archive.org/web/2/http://www.mfc.org/Minnesotasurvey.pdf Lawrence Research, "Impact of Same-sex Marriage Issue in Minnesota Governor’s Race," September 13, 2010}
  23. Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Foes of same-sex marriage say issue could influence election for governor," September 13, 2010
  24. Minnesota Family Council, "Question Wording and Results From National Organization for Marriage’s Minnesota Statewide Survey of Likely Voters"
  25. Minnesota Public Radio, "Pawlenty Under Fire for National Campaigning; DFL Legislative Majority at Risk," August 25-29, 2010
  26. WCCO, "Minn. House Holds First Hearing On Gay Marriage," February 22, 2010
  27. Minnesota Secretary of State, “1998 General Election Results“
  28. Minnesota Secretary of State, “2002 General Election Results“
  29. Minnesota Secretary of State, “2006 General Election Results“
  30. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections', accessed July 28, 2010