Incumbent: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is retiring
Democrat/Farm Labor: Former Sen. Mark Dayton
Republican: State Rep. Tom Emmer
Independence Party: Tom Horner
2008 Presidential Result: Obama 54.2%; McCain 44%
55+ Population (2009 estimate): 24.2 %
Overview: Tim Pawlenty is making a not-so-subtle run for president and decided not to seek a third term as governor. The economy dominates the debate. Mark Dayton, who is popular among seniors, won a tough primary. Tom Emmer leads the Republicans, but Tom Horner, from the Independence Party (think Jesse Ventura) has stepped up and could scramble the general election.
50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.
Fun Fact: The television program Survivor would be a good fit for Dayton. A hockey player in his youth, he was almost killed by a slash to the neck with a skate blade. He has also overcome alcoholism and depression.
'Wild Card' Issue: Minnesota is one of only seven states that don't allow employers to count tips in calculating wages and pay below minimum wage. Emmer shook up the race this summer when he suggested implementing the "tip credit."
Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future