Mark B. Dayton, a Democrat, is the governor of Minnesota since January 2011. Previously, he was a U.S. senator from Minnesota, having served 2001 to 2007. He decided not to seek reelection for Senator.
Mark Dayton was born January 26, 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dayton graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1969. He worked as a teacher in New York City and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate in 1982. Dayton served as a legislative assistant to Sen. Walter Mondale (1975-76), on the staff of then-Governor Rudy Perpich (1977-1978), and was the Commissioner of Economic Development (1978). Next he served as Minnesota Commissioner of Energy and Economic Development (1983-1986) and was Minnesota state auditor from 1991-1995. He was elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Rod Grams.
Dayton, an heir to the Dayton's Department Store fortune, financed his 2000 Senate campaign with $12 million of his own money, a strategy that ultimately harmed his chances for re-election in 2006 because he did not have a fundraising strategy in place. 
On September 22, 2005, the forty-fourth anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps into law, Dayton became the first U.S. senator to introduce legislation creating a United States Department of Peace. At the same time, similar legislation was introduced in the House by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and sixty co-sponsors. 
In 2005, Dayton announced that he would not run for reelection the following year, stating, "Everything I've worked for, and everything I believe in, depends upon this Senate seat remaining in the Democratic caucus in 2007. I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) Party to victory next year." Democrats nominated Amy Klobuchar and Republicans nominated Mark Kennedy to contest the November 2006 election for his Senate seat. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) 
In 2010, the "governor's seat opened when former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) announced he would not seek a third term, sparking rumors that he might be eyeing a 2012 presidential run.
"Bypassing the party endorsement, Dayton spent $3 million of his own money on his primary campaign and battled opponent Margaret Kelliher's support from the state's top Democrats including Sen. Al Franken and former senator and Vice President Walter Mondale, who once employed Dayton as a legislative assistant." Dayton beat Republican Tom Emmer for the governorship.
Meet the cash constituents
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Mark Dayton
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
Records and controversies
Positions and views
In 2006, Dayton came out strongly against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have barred same-sex marriages and the legal incidents thereof, calling the measure "un-American, un-Christian, and unnecessary." 
In 1995, Dayton voted against the passage of CAFTA, citing its possible impact on Minnesota's sugar beet industry. This was in contrast to his Senate colleague Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who initially voiced the same objections, but then agreed to support the measure after an amendment was included providing some continued protection for sugar. 
2004 office closing
In October 2004, Dayton closed his Washington office until the November elections, citing reports of a possible terrorist attack. Every other senator chose to keep their office open, and Dayton received national scrutiny, as well as some criticism, for his move. 
Disparaging remarks about South Dakota
In February 2005, Dayton stated that the Rochester, MN-based Mayo Clinic, is "worth a hell of a lot more than the whole state of South Dakota." The remark was in response to a South Dakota—based company's plan to expand its railroads into Rochester, bringing dozens of trains past the clinic each day. He later apologized for the remark. 
Support of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Dayton voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.
Committees and affiliations
Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Forestry Conservation and Rural Revitalization
- Subcommittee on Production and Price Competitiveness
- Senate Committee on Armed Services
- Subcommittee on Airland
- Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia
- Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management Government Information and International Security
- Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
More background data
Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Articles and resources
- Open Secrets - 2006 congressional races database
- "Mark Dayton: the Blunderer," Time, April 14, 2004.
- Charles Babington and Alan Cooperman, "The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception: Lawmakers Say They Were Misled", Washington Post, June 23, 2004.