MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On the weekend of June 1, the 2,200 Republican delegates will gather at their convention in Duluth and will make their endorsement.
On paper, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson is the front-runner. He has been in the race for a year and he won the February caucuses in a blowout, with 45 percent of the vote.
But Former Governor Tim Pawlenty is making a political comeback. He was elected Minnesota Governor in 2002 and 2006, and after a failed presidential bid in 2012, he retired from politics and headed a banking industry trade organization. In the few weeks since announcing his campaign, Pawlenty raised more than a million dollars.
Still, it’s not clear if Pawlenty can win over the required 60 percent of delegates to earn his party’s endorsement. He, like other candidates, has the option of going straight to voters in the August 14 primary.
“The 1,300 delegates, or so, that you need to get endorsed may already be pledged to other candidates,” Pawlenty said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “If that is the case, the cake may already be baked, but either way our campaign is not stopping with the endorsing convention. You get on the ballot in Minnesota by running and winning a primary, and that is what we intend to do.”
Mary Giuliani Stephens and Phillip Parrish are also seeing the Republican nomination for governor.
The Minnesota DFL is also going into their June convention without a clear outcome. The front-runner is Congressman Tim Walz — who won the caucuses and is leading in fundraising — but state auditor Rebecca Otto and State Representative Erin Murphy are working hard to win over delegates.
While Otto and Murphy say they will abide by the endorsement and drop out if they don’t win, Walz is taking the same route as Pawlenty — saying he’ll take the fight all the way to the August primary.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.