ST. PAUL (AP) -- State Auditor Judi Dutcher became the first DFL candidate for governor out of the gate Thursday when she formed an exploratory committee for the 2002 race.
While exploratory committees don't always end up in candidacies, Dutcher left little doubt of her intentions.
"I'm fairly certain I'm going to do it," Dutcher said.
This would be Dutcher's first run as a Democrat after leaving the Republican Party last year.
The 38-year-old lawyer and former assistant Minneapolis city attorney was elected auditor in 1994 and re-elected in 1998. As auditor, Dutcher has developed a reputation as a prepared and knowledgeable watchdog.
Other Democrats said to be mulling gubernatorial bids include attorney Mike Ciresi, Attorney General Mike Hatch, Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe and Sen. John Hottinger.
On the Republican side, entrepreneur Brian Sullivan has formed an exploratory committee and state Rep. Tim Pawlenty hasn't ruled out a run.
Gov. Jesse Ventura, of the Independence Party, has said he won't reveal his intentions until next summer. Dutcher said Ventura's decision would have no bearing on her candidacy.
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