Swanson, Nolan: gubernatorial campaign to focus on “middle ground”

Published 7:40 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and running mate U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, announced their gubernatorial run earlier this month, on a platform that focuses on breaking through partisan gridlock and are now making efforts to run for “for all Minnesotans,” Swanson said.

After visiting Austin, Swanson, 51, and Nolan, 74, stopped by the Austin Daily Herald newsroom on Monday afternoon to discuss their campaign for governorship. In 2006 Swanson was Minnesota’s first female attorney general and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. From 2003 to 2006, she served as the state’s solicitor general and as deputy attorney general from 1999 to 2002.

Swanson served under current Gov. Mark Dayton and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who served two terms and is running as a GOP candidate along with his running mate, Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach. Swanson decided not to endorse a candidate for her position as attorney general. She also earned national recognition for her work on protecting senior citizens, consumers, patients and for natural resources.

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District

Email newsletter signup

She’s known to be an advocate against pharmaceutical company “rip-offs” and other “abuses,” according to Swanson’s and Nolan’s campaign website.

Despite being the last major candidate to announce her run for governor, Swanson and Nolan are running on a campaign that focuses on problem-solving and compromise. Nolan is the only congressional representative from Minnesota to serve on the “Problem Solver’s Caucus,” a bipartisan group that cooperates to enact legislation and has 16 years of state legislative and congressional experience, focusing on jobs, pensions, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure.

The August primary is crowded by DFL-endorsed state Rep. Erin Murphy and her running mate, state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan. However, that didn’t deter Swanson and Nolan, who said they stood out because of their intent to reach across the aisle and work on bridging “deep divisions” created by partisanship, and their goals to “get things down,” according to Swanson.

“We’re running for one Minnesota,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited. We want Minnesota to have the best schools, jobs and healthcare. We need to break through partisanship because there’s a lot of gridlock, and we want to move things forward.”

Swanson has been considered to be one of the most consistent performers in statewide elections in Minnesota for the DFL, and has won each of her three terms with roughly 53 percent of the vote, and won against several Republicans by at least 11 percentage points per race. Nolan also flipped his northeastern Minnesota congressional seat, and made it through two re-election bids in one of the country’s most competitive U.S. House districts, according to news reports.

The campaign intends to focus on several topics such as accessible high-speed broadband in rural communities, fighting against rising drug costs and health care premiums, as well as addressing increased cost for higher education and finding solutions to help make education more affordable.

They also intend to host dialogues and bridge conversations among legislators at the state, whom they feel have been “divided by partisanship,” according to Nolan.

“More than anything, we want to stop the partisanship,” he said. “It’s already gotten so bad with these deep divisions that our country can’t move forward even on things we agree on. We’re trying to find common ground and move forward.”

Nolan described Swanson to be “the most accomplished attorney general in the country” and expressed his respect for her, hence his decision to run with Swanson for the lieutenant governor seat. In turn, Swanson expressed Nolan’s “effectiveness in getting things done.”

“We’re a great team,” she added.