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Former Minnesota Senate majority leader Koch considers run for governor

Undated courtesy photo of former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, from the 2011-12 legislative session. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Senate)

ST. PAUL — Former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is considering adding her name to the horde running to replace Gov. Mark Dayton next year.

"It is something that I'm thinking about," Koch, a Republican who had represented Buffalo in the state Senate, told the Pioneer Press. "I see a lot of opportunities to do a lot of great things for Minnesota."

If she runs, she said she could offer Minnesota a leader who has experience not only in politics but also as a small-business owner and as someone who has spent years in the private sector. She is also a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Russian linguist.

For Koch, the return to public office would be a political comeback of sorts. While she is now a strategist and lobbyist often seen at the Capitol and in the media, she left Senate leadership in 2011 after she had an affair with a staffer. The affair became public.

Koch, who led the Senate when Republicans shocked observers in 2010 by wresting control of the upper body for the first time in a generation, said she learned through the good of her previous political experience and the bad.

"It makes you real and it makes you understandable," Koch said. "I'm a total open book about all that."

Eight Republicans and five Democrats are already running for governor. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will not run again. Many others are considering making bids for the open seat.

Koch, who moved to Minneapolis after she finished her senate term in 2012, has stayed very involved in politics of the state. She co-hosts a bipartisan podcast called "Wrong about Everything" that takes on politics with a fun bent and owned a bowling alley/bar in Maple Lake for several years post-Senate.

If she decides to make a bid for the state executive office, she said she would focus on helping businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, education and closing the achievement gap and clean energy and environment issues.

"The old rhetoric," she said of energy, "doesn't work for either side."

Koch said she will not make a final decision on the race until the fall.

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