Race is tight as Minnesota GOP picks candidate for governor
Added 05-14-22 03:03:02pm EST - “Minnesota Republicans reconvened Saturday to endorse a candidate to challenge Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in the November election but the five candidates were tightly bunched on the early ballots, showing that all had earned loyal pockets…” - Washingtontimes.com
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Republicans reconvened Saturday to endorse a candidate to challenge Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in the November election but the five candidates were tightly bunched on the early ballots, showing that all had earned loyal pockets of support.
Dr. Scott Jensen, a vaccine skeptic and former state senator, took an early but narrow lead with over 29% on the second ballot. Business executive Kendall Qualls was second with over 28%, followed by Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy at 19%, dermatologist Neal Shah at nearly 13% and former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka at just over 10%. A candidate needs 60% to win the endorsement.
All had pledged to honor the party’s endorsement and forego the right to run in the Aug. 9 GOP primary, assuming there was no deadlock. Former President Donald Trump, still a potent force within the party, has not endorsed anyone in the Minnesota races.
The 2,200 delegates had to complete their work by a 6 p.m. Saturday deadline for vacating the Rochester Mayo Civic Center, but the relatively fast and smooth electronic voting process Friday appeared to reduce the chances of running out of time and leaving without an endorsement. Delegates and party leaders are hoping at least one of their candidates becomes the first Republican elected to statewide office since Gov. Tim Pawlenty was reelected in 2006.
Jensen, a family physician from Chaska, got the earliest start in the race and raised the most money. He built a national following as he framed his COVID-19 vaccine skepticism - and opposition to mask mandates and school and business closures - as support for medical freedom. He stressed in his speech his efforts as a state senator to stand up against the Walz administration’s handling of the pandemic.
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