Republican Scott Jensen to take on Tim Walz for Minnesota governor
Driving the news: Jensen and Walz both sailed to victory in their respective primary bids, the Associated Press projects.
State of play: Minnesota hasn't elected a Republican to statewide office since 2006. But state polling and national political headwinds point to a potentially competitive race this year.
Bio in brief: Jensen, a physician and former state senator, has garnered national attention — and backlash — for his comments questioning COVID-19 death tolls.
- He's been a vocal critic of Walz's pandemic response and vaccine mandates, though his campaign has more recently focused on inflation and public safety.
- During his one term representing a suburban seat in the state Legislature, Jensen had a reputation as a political wild card willing to buck his party leadership on issues such as gun control and conversion therapy.
- He disavowed his past gun stances during the primary, issuing an apology to GOP activists.
How we got here: Jensen defeated five rivals to secure the Republican endorsement at a bitterly contested party convention in May.
- The losing candidates all dropped out following the endorsement decision, leaving Jensen with no serious opposition for the primary.
- Walz, a former congressman and teacher first elected to statewide office in 2018, also faced minimal opposition in his bid to be nominated for a second term.
Of note: Four independent candidates, including two from Minnesota's legal marijuana parties, will also appear on the November ballots.