Johnson on Possible Pawlenty Entry: “Competition’s Good”
Tim Walz was the big winner in a crowded DFL field for governor on primary caucus night Tuesday. Jeff Johnson won easily among the GOP candidates.
Johnson said he was very pleased with the caucus results, calling it “a really good night that went better than expected.”
The Hennepin County Commissioner from Plymouth and 2014 Republican nominee for governor also spoke with CCX News about the possible candidacy of former Governor Tim Pawlenty.
“Competition’s good,” said Johnson. “If he wants in the race, that’s great.”
But Johnson stressed that Pawlenty should “abide by the endorsement” and that “buying a primary doesn’t work in Minnesota.”
Johnson had 45 percent of the GOP caucus vote Tuesday night, while 16 percent were undecided.
First step of the political cycle
The primary caucuses are the first step leading up to the November elections. While the winners are by no means a lock to secure a political party’s nomination, it’s a good step to secure a candidate’s viability.
“Governorships are real important and we have had a Republican governor before,” voter Kathy Swenson said at a GOP caucus at Cooper High School. “We can have one again, but only with people’s support.”
Meanwhile, Tim Walz had 31 percent of the DFL caucus vote, followed by State Auditor Rebecca Otto with 20 percent. Former House Speaker Paul Thissen announced Wednesday that he was dropping out of the race after attracting less than 5 percent of the vote.
The polarizing political climate has fueled DFLers for the next election.
“There’s a lot of things around health care,” said Mark Goodell at the DFL caucus at Park Center High School. “There’s a lot of things around immigration. Those are sort of the hot button topics that I have heard.”
The caucuses are politics on a micro level, but they do have significance.
“This is sort of the ultimate grassroots level,” Goodell said. “They all get together and they get to meet their neighbors. They get to talk a little bit and make some decisions.”