State DFL Rep. Rukavina officially joins race for governor

State Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, was in Duluth Monday when he made it official and announced he’s running for governor in 2010.

Candace Renalls in the Duluth News Tribune said Rukavina would have liked to make the announcement on the stage at the AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic, held in Duluth, but organizers wouldn’t allow any of the gubernatorial candidates speak. So Rukavina moved off to the edge of the picnic in Bayfront Festival Park and made the much-expected announcement there.

Other likely DFL gubernatorial candidates were at the picnic, too — St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, former state Rep. Matt Entenza of St. Paul, former state Sen. Steve Kelley of Hopkins and state Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook — but couldn’t speak on the stage.

“We had one hour of speeches and too many local candidates,” Al Netland told the paper. He’s president of the Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor Body, which sponsors the annual picnic. Besides, the local chapter doesn’t make endorsements for governor. That’s done by the statewide AFL-CIO, he said.

Great line from Rukavina, who is serving his 12th state House term, when asked about his chances of winning:

“They elected Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty, and I can’t be any worse than them,” he said with a laugh.

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