Paul Gazelka wins Minnesota GOP gubernatorial straw poll
State Sen. Paul Gazelka won the Minnesota Republican Party's gubernatorial race straw poll over the weekend.
Why it matters: The straw poll of GOP delegates gives some indication of how party activists who will influence the endorsements are leaning in the competitive gubernatorial race right now.
Yes, but: A bigger universe of Republican delegates votes for the actual endorsement next year. And being straw poll frontrunner isn't a lock for the nomination — someone else won the primary in at least the last three elections. In 2018, the victor ended his campaign a month later.
State of play: Gazelka, a former Senate majority leader, won with support of 37% of delegates at the GOP's State Central meeting, according to results screenshots posted by an attendee.
- Sen. Michelle Benson came in second with 22% and Scott Jensen, seen by many as a frontrunner this summer, placed third with 20%.
- 2018 nominee Doug Wardlow bested two rivals by wide margins in the attorney general straw poll and Kelly Jahner-Byrne placed first for secretary of state.
The big picture: A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll released last week showed six major GOP challengers trailing DFL Gov. Tim Walz by similar double-digit margins.
- The governor was below 50% in the matchups, with more than 10% of voters undecided in all cases.
The intrigue: The field may not be set quite yet. Kendall Qualls, who ran unsuccessful for a suburban congressional seat in 2020, is expected to announce his candidacy in January.
The bottom line: With five months to go until the GOP's endorsing convention, it's anyone's race.
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