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When Third District Rep. Dean Phillips launched his campaign for president last fall, Minnesotans might have felt a creeping sense of déjà vu.

Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar ran for president in 2020, and former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were both in the running in 2012.

None of them made it all the way to the nation's highest office — no Minnesotan ever has — but quite a few were eager to throw their name in the mix.

Is this a new phenomenon, or do Minnesotans have a longer track record of seeking the presidency compared with people from other states?

Eric Ostermeier, a research fellow at the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has spent years digging into this question, combing through various data sets and researching the background of candidates from Minnesota and other states to determine who to include in his list. He discovered that Minnesotans are, in fact, more presidentially inclined.

"Minnesota has had an outsized footprint in presidential campaigns, vis-à-vis their population size in the modern primary area, which is basically 1972 onward," he said.

Since 1972, Minnesota has had nine candidates run for president under the two major parties, tied for fifth place with Florida and following California, New York, Texas, and Ohio. When looking at the number of presidential campaigns, Minnesota has had 14 (because some candidates ran multiple times), tied in fourth place with Virginia and following much bigger states such as California, New York and Texas.

Compared with states with similar demographics and population, Minnesota stands out, Ostermeier added. Wisconsin had only two presidential candidates during the same time period, Missouri had one and Maryland and Tennessee each had five candidates who ran for president.

Long before the recent crop, prominent Minnesotans such as Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale represented the state on the presidential ballot. McCarthy, the former Minnesota congressman and U.S. senator, ran in 1968 before the modern primary era, and then sought the presidency again in 1972 and 1992 as part of the Democratic Party (he ran twice more under independent parties in 1976 and 1988).

Humphrey was the losing Democratic nominee in 1968, before the modern primary era, and ran again in 1972. Since then, Mondale is the only Minnesotan to make it all the way to the general election ballot for president, but he was easily defeated in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, who won every state but Minnesota.

No Minnesotan has appeared on presidential ballots over the last 50 years more than Harold Stassen, Minnesota's 25th governor and the youngest person ever elected to the office at 31. He went on to win two additional two-year terms for Minnesota's highest office as a Republican, but he resigned in 1943 to take a top post in the Navy.

In 1948 he sought the GOP nomination for president but was defeated at the national convention. He sought the presidential nomination a total of 10 times, including four times since 1972. In his last campaign in 1992, the 84-year-old Stassen rejected the idea that his life had become connected to the idea of losing.

"I feel it's really been a winning life," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Every one of the nine times there has been some solid result."

Another lesser-known candidate was Mary Jane Rachner, a retired St. Paul teacher who ran for everything from governor and Congress to eventually two runs for president. She was on two state ballots in her 1988 presidential run. It wasn't until 1996 when she was finally elected to the Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"A hot take could be, there could be something in the water — we just don't know in which of the 10,000 lakes," joked Kevin Parsneau, a political science professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, about why so many Minnesotans want to be president.

There's a mix of timing and personality that goes into any person's decision to run for office, he noted, but he also thinks there might be a feeling that the region doesn't get enough attention in party politics.

"You really don't see the Upper Midwest really represented in the presidency," he said. "There is a sense that this part of the country doesn't necessarily get the attention it deserves."