ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer but will finish the final two years of his term.
Dayton made the announcement just a day after collapsing while delivering his State of the State address.
The 69-year-old Democrat said he will travel to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester on Tuesday afternoon to for tests on why he fainted. He will return to Mayo next week to discuss his prostate cancer treatment options.
Dayton’s comments came during a planned event to discuss the state budget.
Dayton struck his head on a lectern Monday night after stumbling over his words and collapsing roughly 40 minutes into the annual address. He appeared conscious as he was helped into a back room within several minutes, and later walked out of the Capitol on his own.
Dayton’s chief of staff Jaime Tincher said Dayton quickly recovered and returned home to spend time with his son and grandson after a routine check by emergency medical technicians at the governor’s residence in St. Paul.
Dayton is facing an all-Republican Legislature his final two years in office after the GOP took control of the Senate in November and added to their House majority.
Facing a unified GOP front for his final two years in office — Republicans took back control of the Senate and strengthened their House majority in November — Dayton has increasingly looked to the past as he seeks to cement his legacy.
Dayton entered office in 2011 facing a $6 billion budget deficit. After a stalemate with Republican majorities led to a 20-day government shutdown that year, he and Democrats united to control the Capitol in 2013. They raised taxes on the state’s wealthiest earners, increased the minimum wage and legalized same-sex marriage.
The state has posted several years of surpluses, and the governor has pointed to that financial stability as a hallmark of his six years in office, insisting he’ll safeguard against a return to painful budget shortfalls.
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