Walz Wins DFL Nomination for Minnesota Governor

Former Gov. Pawlenty gets thrashed in Republican primary

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., won the gubernatorial nomination for the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tim Walz won the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party nomination in Minnesota’s gubernatorial race.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Walz had 41.7 percent ahead of state Rep. Erin Murphy’s 32.1 percent and Attorney General Lori Swanson’s 24.4 percent, according to The Associated Press.

“I see that beautiful cross-section that is Minnesota and unending possibility that is sitting in this room,” Walz told supporters in his victory speech, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Walz served in the House since 2006 and narrowly won his last re-election race in 2016 when Minnesota’s 1st District broke for President Donald Trump.

Swanson’s running mate in the race, Rep. Rick Nolan, joined the ticket after he announced he was not running for re-election in Minnesota’s 8th District, which also broke for Trump.

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Nolan was criticized after it was revealed he hired a staffer in his congressional office accused of sexual harassment to his 2016 campaign.

On the Republican side, Jeff Johnson upset former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was running for the position he held from 2003 to 2011.

Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, won with 52.6 percent of the vote to Pawlenty’s 43.9 percent, according to the AP.

“We have to win in November. We have to win for the people of Minnesota. We have to win so we can let them keep more money in their pocket and leave government out of their daily lives,” Johnson said in his victory speech.

When asked at his campaign party if he was retired from politics, Pawlenty told reporters “the answer is yes.”

“This is the era of Trump and I don’t fit into that very well,” the former governor told Minnesota Public Radio after his concession. “We knew the ground had shifted, but I think we thought there was still a reservoir of support from Pawlenty supporters we could draw upon to win this thing. But that turned out not to be the case.”

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