Johnson wins GOP nomination for governor

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Jeff Johnson took the lead early Tuesday night and never lost it.

In the race to be the Republican nominee for governor, Jeff Johnson took the lead over his three opponents almost immediately after polls closed Tuesday night — and never lost it.  In an election marked by low voter turnout, Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, had just over 30 percent of the vote when the race was called.

Former Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers was holding on to 24 percent of the vote, followed by former state Rep. Marty Seifert with 21 percent of the vote and businessman Scott Honour, also with 21 percent.

Johnson reached out to his competitors in his first comments in accepting victory.

“They ran great campaigns, they ran substantive campaigns, and hopefully they will be walking side by side with us across the state,” he said to a crowd of about 150 supporters who gathered at Digby’s Bar and Grill in Plymouth.

Then Johnson took aim at his opponent in the November election, Gov. Mark Dayton.

“Mark Dayton is a fairly popular incumbent … but we can beat him,” he said.  “I have a vision of a state where government isn’t taking more and more … to feed its insatiable appetite for spending. I have a vision of a state where we have ended this obsession of anger and envy over income differences.”

In an interview, Johnson said he doesn’t accept the premise that the state’s low unemployment numbers give Dayton an edge.

“Half the people are working in jobs they don’t want to be in, either part time or at a level or pay lower than where they should be,” he said.  “We don’t need more minimum-wage jobs in Minnesota. We need more good-paying jobs and careers in Minnesota.”

Johnson will join Zellers, Honour, and Seifert tomorrow in St. Paul in what’s being billed as a “unity event.”

The DFL Party will follow with its own response to the primary, not to extol the DFL primary winners, but to talk about  “GOP policies that weakened the middle class and communities.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/13/2014 - 07:08 pm.

    What the lack of GOP leadership does for the GOP

    The GOP had four running in the primary for governor and Mr. Johnson, the endorse candidate, won but it wasn’t a run away win. The GOP still has a long way to go before they can be considered a viable party. They can’t have a functional party when every ten Republicans feel like they are the way forward for the party. They have been too busy drumming people out of the party to be worried about leadership, and it shows.

  2. Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 08/14/2014 - 07:44 am.

    30% of the vote = “Winning”??

    I wonder how many Republicans will take another look at ranked choice voting (fka instant runoff voting) after this disturbing result. I sure wouldn’t feel terribly confident if I knew that 70% of the voters who I need to form my electoral base voted for somebody else. (My guess is that Johnson would have been nearly every Republican’s second choice and would have been nominated in a RCV election anyway and is by far their strongest candidate, but it wouldn’t have taken a lot for one of the other knuckleheads to have sneaked past him.)

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