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Tim Walz, Scott Jensen victorious in primary, now on to November governor's race

The DFL- and GOP-endorsed candidates for governor easily won their respective primary contests on Tuesday night.

Farmfest gubernatorial debate
Gov. Tim Walz, left, and Republican candidate Scott Jensen, right, debated on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, at Farmfest in Redwood County, Minnesota.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Scott Jensen on Tuesday, Aug. 9, cleared partisan primary contests, solidifying their match-up in November.

Each candidate faced lesser-known challengers in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and Republican Party primaries. And their victories mean that they'll move forward to the general election.

The Associated Press called the races for Walz and Jensen at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan fended off a challenge from fellow Democrat Ole Savior. They picked up 96.6% of the vote with about 77% of precincts reporting compared to Savior's 3.4%. Meanwhile, Jensen and running mate Matt Birk came out ahead of Joyce Lynne Lacey and Bob "Again" Carney Jr. with 89.53% of the vote compared to 6.4% for Lacey and 4% for Carney Jr.

Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party candidate Steve Patterson held a lead in that primary, ahead of Darrell Paulsen. And Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate James McCaskel held a narrow lead over Chris Wright with 52% of precincts reporting.

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Walz and Jensen's campaigns on Tuesday night cheered the news of their respective wins and said they would take the momentum into their campaigns this fall.

“Minnesota has rallied to overcome historic challenges, and together we’re making progress,” Walz said. “I’m running for a second term so that we can continue to lower costs, fully fund education, improve public safety, and protect a woman’s right to choose. Together, we can and will move Minnesota forward.”

Minnesota Republican Party leaders applauded Jensen's win and said it foreshadowed victories for him and other Republican candidates in November.

"With the Jensen-Birk ticket’s plan to heal Minnesota, Republicans in Minnesota are poised to win statewide, up and down the ballot," Minnesota GOP Chairman David Hann said. "Dr. Jensen and Matt Birk will provide real solutions like putting more cops on the street, reducing taxes and regulations, and strengthening families’ voices in our schools. "

Jensen and Walz had already set their sights on one another before the primary elections, holding news conferences to challenge one another on policy positions and facing off in a debate last week at the agriculture expo Farmfest.

Jensen has taken aim at the governor for his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which he has said was overly restrictive, as well as for the response to rioting in the Twin Cities following the police killing of George Floyd.

Walz, meanwhile, has said Jensen has shared misinformation about COVID-19 and the security of elections in Minnesota. The governor has also challenged Jensen and Birk for saying this spring that they opposed abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

Voters on Nov. 8 will decide whether to place Walz, Jensen, primary winners from each of the marijuana parties, Independence Party of Minnesota candidate Hugh McTavish or Socialist Workers Party candidate Gabrielle Prosser in the governor's office for the term beginning in 2023.

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"We have polled three times since Cara has gotten in the race. We have used three different polling companies to ensure we are getting the most diverse/accurate information," Armstrong told me of his surveys. "We don't do it for a press release. We do it so that we know how to move forward with our campaign. The only way to do that well is if we can trust the data."

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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