The Senate will vote Thursday on whether to confirm Republican Gov.
Mark Dayton as president, with Democrats pushing for a second straight majority in the chamber.
But Republicans are trying to use the debate to build support for the president’s agenda, and to show that they’re willing to work with Democrats to tackle the country’s challenges.
Dayton is a former Republican governor of Minnesota who became the first openly gay governor in the state in 2020.
Dayton and his wife, Carla, are expected to be among the first members of the Trump administration to take office in January.
Dayton has faced a number of obstacles in his bid to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including allegations of sexual harassment.
But he is now under mounting pressure to step down as the GOP is hoping to reclaim the White Senate after a dismal midterm election and a wave of retirements.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Dayton said he believes that “the country needs a new direction.”
He said the president is making a strong case for bipartisanship and that “I think people will see the need for a different direction, a different approach.”
He acknowledged that Dayton is not a Republican, and he said he doesn’t know if he will support him.
He said he has not spoken with Trump about the race.
“I haven’t had a conversation with him.
But I have talked to the president, and I think he has a very good view of the challenges we face in this country and of how we should go forward as a country,” Dayton said.
The Dayton campaign has not yet released an official statement supporting Dayton’s candidacy.
But the Dayton campaign said the state’s Republican-led Senate should not be used as a vehicle to promote an agenda.
“There’s no reason to use that chamber as a platform to advance a presidential campaign or a campaign for any particular agenda,” said Brian Rogers, the campaign’s senior communications adviser.
“The governor is the governor of this state, and it’s his decision to run for president.”
Dayton was elected to his third term in January 2020.
He served a full two years before being elected president, but he has been criticized for the timing of his retirement.
Dayton announced his intention to run in 2020 after several of his closest allies resigned or lost their jobs.
Dayton’s announcement came on the heels of the announcement by the White Court, the president of the United States’ judicial branch, that he would retire from office in December.