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Bakk mulls run for governor

ST. PAUL -- State Sen. Tom Bakk has become the second Democrat to file paperwork establishing a governor campaign committee for the 2010 election. However, he said in a Wednesday interview, the committee is only to allow him to investigate a cand...

ST. PAUL -- State Sen. Tom Bakk has become the second Democrat to file paperwork establishing a governor campaign committee for the 2010 election.

However, he said in a Wednesday interview, the committee is only to allow him to investigate a candidacy. He said he plans to make a decision by the end of the year.

"I would characterize it as an exploratory committee," Bakk said by telephone from his Canadian cabin.

A key to whether he runs will be whether he can gain support of small businessmen, he said.

"One of the things I want to do is see if I am the kind of a Democrat who can appeal to small town business owners," Bakk, DFL-Cook, Minn., said.

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Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidates have not been successful courting the business community, Bakk said. However, the Senate Taxes Committee chairman and long-time union carpenter said he has a lot in common with business owners.

The only major-party candidate to announce a run for governor in 2010 is Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner of White Bear Lake, Minn.

At least a dozen Democrats either have said they are interested in running for governor or others have promoted their candidacies -- including former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Bakk is serving his second Senate term, but first was elected to the House in 1994. He represents part of Duluth and a large territory of northeastern Minnesota.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

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