Once a longshot, Johnson defeats former governor Pawlenty

Johnson victorious despite less cash, name recognition than Pawlenty

Sloane Martin
August 15, 2018 - 8:27 am

Former governor Tim Pawlenty entered the gubernatorial race late to challenge Jeff Johnson, thinking the party needed a bigger name and more fundraising power to win the seat.

But it was Johnson who came away with the convincing victory for Republicans Tuesday night, despite a huge disadvantage in cash on hand. After a short night of rest coming off a celebratory night, he told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News that the two traded voice mails.

"As I said in mine, we both made each other mad a few times during this campaign and that's part of politics, but we both had also pledged to help the other whichever one of us won and he did that in his voice mail so I welcome that," he said.

Johnson says he's looking forward to taking on his DFL opponent Tim Walz.

"I think this is actually going to be a great election because I like Tim and I think he likes me," he said. "I don't think there's going to be a ton of mudslinging going back and forth. I think this is going to be about issues and our very, very different visions for the future."

He also said he would welcome President Donald Trump's potential endorsement, and "hopefully" they can connect in the "coming days or weeks."