More voters cast DFL primary ballots as Walz, Jensen look ahead to November

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, more voters cast DFL primary ballots


You can win in election politics by taking victories wherever they are found. After Tuesday’s primary victory against unfunded and unknown party rivals, the two Minnesota governor candidates endorsed each other.


Jensen won more than 87 per cent of the vote in the GOP primary against two marginal competitors. Walz did even better — 97 percent — against a perennial DFL candidate. Although the primaries are difficult to compare, DFL ballots were favored by more state voters than GOP ballots by almost 110,000.

Jensen stated that while tonight’s win may have been less formal, it was still a clear message that Minnesotans want safer streets and a better education for their children. He also said that the victory is a signal that they are concerned about rising inflation. He called upon Walz to continue to have more discussions, as he did before.


Walz’s election night statement summarized the campaign theme he had so far: The state was facing tough times, but he persevered.

“Minnesota rallied to overcome historical challenges, and together they’re making progress,” Walz stated.


The primary is now over, so the general election can officially begin. Although it began in the moment Jensen beat four GOP candidates to win the endorsement in May, Jensen was already targeting the incumbent, but Walz and DFL groups as well as surrogates focused on Jensen.


Jensen believes the campaign should focus on public safety and inflation. Walz believes it should be about how he managed the COVID-19 pandemic and his support for abortion access. He also needs to reject the doubts that have been raised about the 2020 election results from GOP nominees.


Alliance for a Better Minnesota supports Walz. A post-primary TV ad already accuses Jensen, who holds extreme views on abortion, of running it.


The two campaign themes were displayed during back-to-back interviews with MPR News Wednesday. Jensen tried to clarify his position regarding abortion and exemptions for rape and incest, but he was unable to do so on MPR News Wednesday.


Jensen accused Walz again of freezing in the early hours after the murder of George Floyd, and failing to do enough to help the cities that were facing waves of carjackings and shootings.


Jensen stated that span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>”Democrats would say abortion is their winning ticket.” But that’s not on November’s ballot. We are hearing it all across the state of Minnesota. It is the lawlessness in the cities and Greater Minnesota, and the inflation that could be avoided in many situations span>


Walz stated that the election is not about what we have done but about how well-respected leaders are. These were difficult years. Minnesotans came together and we moved forward.” Walz said that most voters had not yet participated in the election, and polling shows that they aren’t familiar Jensen. He promised to change this.


span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>” Once they get to know him, I think they’ll realize his agendas aren’t right for them,” he stated.

Jensen accused Walz, accusing him of cancelling and dodging debates. Only one forum — held before Farmfest audiences last week — has been held. Walz stated that he expected debates but was wary about giving Jensen more space for “spewing conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19.”

MinnPost photo taken by Peter Callaghan
Scott Jensen speaks to an audience member at Farmfest earlier in the month.


Walz has a significant fundraising advantage according to the most recent state Campaign Finance Board filings. The Walz campaign had raised $6.3million and had $5 million left in the bank at the end of July. Jensen’s campaign had first to compete against four other candidates for party endorsement. It had already raised $2.26million and had $508,000 cash.


Jensen pointed out the discrepancy in money in a fundraising email that he sent Tuesday night to announce his primary victory.

Independent expenditure campaigns in Minnesota are dominated by DFL-leaning and DFL-leaning groups. This is evident from this analysis of 2018 spending. The state DFL party is still a powerful fundraising organization than the GOP. Independent expenditure campaigns do not have to contribute the same amount as candidate committees. However, they cannot coordinate their activities with campaigns under the law.


The total votes for the governor’s race were less than 4,600 for all four candidates from marijuana legalization parties. Nearly three times as many votes were received by the least popular candidate in both the DFL and GOP primaries. Two major parties will still advance to the general elections, though: James McCaskel from the Legal Marijuana Now Party, and Steve Patterson from the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis party.


Oliver Steinberg, founder of Grassroots party, stated that Patterson is not a party member or follower and repudiated his nomination.


Hugh McTavish, Independence Alliance candidate, and Gabrielle Prosser, Socialist Workers Party candidate will also be on the November ballot to become governor.

Primary turnout

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State, 18% of eligible voters voted in Tuesday’s primary. This is a decrease from 2020 and 2018, when the percentage of eligible voters participated was 22.25 and 22.77 percent, respectively. It is still higher than 2016, when 7.42 percent of primary voters cast their ballots. In 2022, mail ballot requests were significantly lower than in 2020 due to the pandemic. Minnesota’s primary elections have a lower turnout than the general election.


Election-to-election, the primary vote totals of the parties can vary widely. The DFL typically receives more votes. With contested races between the GOP and DFL in 2018, the DFL candidates received 320,914 extra votes than the Republicans. The DFL received just 7,000 more votes in 2014 than the GOP candidates, with incumbent Mark Dayton almost unopposed. The DFL received nearly 312,000 additional votes in 2010 with primaries on both sides and more competition from the DFL.


DFL candidates won the general election in all three of these elections. In 2006, Tim Pawlenty was the Republican gubernatorial nominee. The primary showed a similar bias favoring DFL candidates. DFL candidates won more than 150,000 primary votes to Republicans.

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