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After defeat, Johnson hints that he may be done with politics

While congratulating Dayton on a well-fought campaign, the GOP candidate noted some of the obstacles he faced in taking on a sitting governor. 

Jeff Johnson conceding the gubernatorial race to Gov. Dayton on Tuesday night.
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

Give him this, Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson stayed on message until the very end. “The fight is not going to end tonight,” he told supporters at the Loews Hotel in Minnesota after conceding the race to Gov. Mark Dayton. 

The fight goes on, he said, “So that every kid has access to great education… so that health decisions are made by patients and doctors… The fight needs to make the people in government understand that their job is not control and regulating … but to actually serve the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

But Johnson made it clear the fight was not going to be a personal one — and that he may be done with political office. “I love my job on the [Hennepin] county board and I see myself back in the private sector at some point down the road,” he told reporters.

Johnson gave his concession speech about 10:30 last night when he was ten points behind Dayton, a gap that eventually narrowed some.  While congratulating Dayton on a well-fought campaign, he noted what he considered insurmountable advantages possessed by the incumbent. 

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“We got outspent eight to one by outside money. I think we held our own with the internal money,” Johnson said.  “And Mark Dayton’s been in Minnesota politics for almost 40 years so overcoming that name recognition was really difficult.”    

Johnson predicted correctly that the race would tighten as voters were counted in greater Minnesota.  As of Wednesday morning, the margin of Dayton’s victory was six points.  But Johnson discounted speculation that he would run for governor again. 

“Oh, no,” he said. “We’re going to Disney World in a few weeks.  That’s the only thing on my mind right now.”