New running mate fills in when ailing hip keeps Dayton from caucus

Suffering from ongoing hip problems, Gov. Mark Dayton wasn’t able to make it to Highland Park Junior High tonight for the DFL caucus being held there.

So Tina Smith, Dayton’s newly announced running mate, was there in his stead.  Smith is Dayton’s chief of staff. She will step down from that post next week.

“We have made great progress over the last three years, but we have a lot more work to do,” Smith told MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire, as she shook hands with DFL caucus attendees.

And there were plenty of hands to shake at Highland Park Junior High because there are six DFL candidates competing to fill the seat being vacated by incumbent Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul. 

Some caucus-goers are still undecided about who they will support. Among them is Lynn Burton.

“I think they’re all excellent,” Burton said. “I think we’re absolutely blessed to have this strong a field of candidates.”