Mark Dayton

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Mark B. Dayton was a senator from Minnesota. A Democrat, he served from 2001 to 2007. He opted to retire rather than seek reelection in 2006.



Mark Dayton was born January 26, 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dayton graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1969. He worked as a teacher in New York City and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate in 1982. Dayton served as a legislative assistant to Sen. Walter Mondale (1975-76), on the staff of then-Governor Rudy Perpich (1977-1978), and was the Commissioner of Economic Development (1978). Next he served as Minnesota Commissioner of Energy and Economic Development (1983-1986) and was Minnesota state auditor from 1991-1995. He was elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Rod Grams.

Dayton, an heir to the Dayton's Department Store fortune, financed his 2000 Senate campaign with $12 million of his own money, a strategy that ultimately harmed his chances for re-election in 2006 because he did not have a fundraising strategy in place. [1]

On September 22, 2005, the forty-fourth anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps into law, Dayton became the first U.S. senator to introduce legislation creating a United States Department of Peace. At the same time, similar legislation was introduced in the House by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and sixty co-sponsors. [2]

In 2005, Dayton announced that he would not run for reelection the following year, stating, "Everything I've worked for, and everything I believe in, depends upon this Senate seat remaining in the Democratic caucus in 2007. I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) Party to victory next year." [3]Democrats nominated Amy Klobuchar and Republicans nominated Mark Kennedy to contest the November 2006 election for his Senate seat. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [4]

Meet the Cash Constituents

Links to more campaign contribution information for Mark Dayton
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Records and Controversies

Positions and views


Dayton is in favor of legalized abortion, with 100% vote ratings from pro-choice advocacy groups. [5]

Sexual orientation-related legislation

In 2006, Dayton came out strongly against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have barred same-sex marriages and the legal incidents thereof, calling the measure "un-American, un-Christian, and unnecessary." [6]


In 1995, Dayton voted against the passage of CAFTA, citing its possible impact on Minnesota's sugar beet industry. This was in contrast to his Senate colleague Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who initially voiced the same objections, but then agreed to support the measure after an amendment was included providing some continued protection for sugar. [7]

2004 office closing

In October 2004, Dayton closed his Washington office until the November elections, citing reports of a possible terrorist attack. Every other senator chose to keep their office open, and Dayton received national scrutiny, as well as some criticism, for his move. [8]

Disparaging remarks about South Dakota

In February 2005, Dayton stated that the Rochester, MN-based Mayo Clinic, is "worth a hell of a lot more than the whole state of South Dakot." The remark was in response to a South Dakota—based company's plan to expand its railroads into Rochester, bringing dozens of trains past the clinic each day. He later apologized for the remark. [9]

Support of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Dayton was one of a number of members of Congress who was in attendance for the controversial "coronation" of Reverend Sun Myung Moon in June 2004. Moon is the head of the Unification Church. [10]

Iraq War

Dayton voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Committees and Affiliations

Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Mark Dayton. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and Resources



Local blogs and discussion sites


DC Office:
123 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2303
Phone: 202-224-3244
Fax: 202-228-2186
Web Email

District Office- Renville:
PO Box 608
Renville, MI 56284
Phone: 320-905 3007

District Office- Grand Forks:
401 DeMers Ave.
East Grand Forks, MN 56721
Phone: 218-773-1110
Fax: 218-773-1993

District Office- Fort Snelling:
Federal Building, Suite 298
Fort Snelling, MN 55111
Phone: 888-224-9043
Fax: 612-727-5223

District Office- Biwabik:
222 Main Street, PO Box 937
Biwabik, MN 55708
Phone: 218-865-4480
Fax: 218-865-4667