MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An early sign from Minnesota Republicans as to who they may back in next year’s race for governor.

State Rep. Matt Dean of Dellwood came out on top of a straw poll vote in the Brainerd Lakes area Saturday. More than 300 Republicans met there this morning to hear from seven candidates vying for the party endorsement.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson came in second and former Republican party chairman Keith Downey came in third, followed by Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani-Stephens and State Sen. Dave Osmek.

The GOP chair said in a statement this is an incredible group of candidates running for governor. Ten Republicans have filed paperwork to run for office along with six DFLers.

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