Timeline: COVID sparked Jensen’s run for governor and remains recurring theme

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In a radio interview, he spoke on the FarmFest stage. He had just finished a debate with DFL Governor. Tim Walz asked Republican Scott Jensen how he got to that office.


Jensen was a Chaska family doctor and said that he quit politics to help his wife Mary Jensen (a veterinarian). She had four health issues that would require four operations. After she had recovered, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Jensen was shocked to receive an email from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describing how medical professionals should classify deaths possibly caused by the virus.


span style=”font weight: 400 I raised my hand, sorta,” Jensen, the GOP nominee, said to Linder Farm Network that he believed “that can’t possibly be right.” It was so loud that I met Laura Ingraham, and became a regular. Then, I found myself being pushed to front of the line. I was asked to address issues and to put them into context. I became a national figure. Every day, I believe I have half a million people following me. People started pushing me to run for governor .”

Jensen was critical of mandatory mask orders. Jensen has criticized mandatory mask orders. He stated that so-called “herd immunity” – spreading the virus through the population until there are no more infected hosts – is better than vaccines. He also questioned the numbers of deaths and infected people, and argued that doctors were exaggerating these rates to obtain higher reimbursements from the government and insurance companies. He also advocated the use of unfounded remedies like ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, and hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is primarily used for treating malaria. He was subject to complaints from the state medical licensing board. He was then removed from TikTok because he violated policies against COVID misinformation.


Jensen often refers to August’s remarks about how he got into the race. Jensen returned to this topic many times during the FarmFest debate in front of a large and supportive crowd, which included COVID deniers.

Jensen states on his campaign website that Jensen will not allow “bad modeling, ego and party politics” to continue to dictate policy. Minnesota cannot again be subject to the power grab by Tim Walz. When faced with crisis .”


His beliefs about the virus, its threat to human health, and the impacts of government intervention are contrary to medical consensus. He often boasts that he is standing up for the medical community.


How did Jensen become an iconoclastic state senator who worked across the political aisle with a bipartisan group M.D.s called the Doctor Caucus to become a national figure among pandemic questionsers? How does this fit in with his current campaign to become governor?

  1. March 30, 2020

    Jensen is co-author of an op-ed. It was written as an open letter addressed to Walz by Jan Malcolm, the state Department of Health Commissioner. This letter questioned the rapid response to the pandemic. The letter, which was co-authored by GOP Senator Jim Abeler (DFL Sen. John Hoffman), argued that shutting down large parts of the economy was an excessive response. The letter called for the division of public spaces between those who are safe and those who are not, and that is essential and non-essential. They wrote, “Let the hair stylist alone remain in her or his salon, and let the golfers play, and let the cabinet builders build,” “In each case, there is no measurable epidemiological advantage. But, it causes massive economic and emotional distress.”

    Gov. Tim Walz, Jan Malcolm, MDH Commissioner

    MinnPost photo

  2. April 1, 2020

    DFL Senator Jeff Hayden (a member of Doctor Caucus) responded to the open letter to Walz, Malcolm. They took particular issue with the statement “we have ‘flattened’ the curve. We are safer.” Klein and Hayden said they don’t understand what they were talking about. “… To suggest that we should reverse our course without evidence that such an action is not a clear threat to our health, is irresponsible.

  3. April 8, 2020

    Jensen appears on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program. reiterates previous claims about COVID cases, deaths and overestimation. He cites CDC advice regarding how to make presumptions concerning COVID deaths in a time when few tests were available to confirm infection. The official death count was higher than that reported by public health officials, who also continue to argue this point. This is again due to a lack of testing kits. In the official count, Minnesota has distinguished lab-confirmed COVID-related deaths from those that are probable or suspected.

    Screen shot of Jensen’s Fox News appearance.

    MinnPost photo

  4. April 16, 2020

    DFL Senator Matt Klein, a hospitalist, was again critical of Jensen and others during Senate floor debate. Klein said that hospitals and staff were exaggerating and even falsifying diagnoses in order to manipulate people, the grasp power, or their pockets. Jensen responded by saying that the criticism was “piercing,” especially from Klein, who had previously worked on issues like insulin affordability. He continues to state that the state’s ICU and hospital capacity are adequate and that ventilators can be accessed in abundance. However, he says that it would be better to limit the use of ventilators to those who are over 70 and have conditions that make them more susceptible to infection.

  5. May 9, 2020

    Jensen is the centerpiece of an New York Times article that details how COVID-19 became a political issue during the presidential campaign. According to the article, Jensen’s claim about diagnosis manipulation was picked up by conservative commentators Alex Jones of Infowars who claimed that Trump would use inflated death figures to defeat him.

    Jensen is mentioned in a COVID story published by the New York Times.

    New York Times screenshot

  6. May 12, 2020

    Jensen mocked those who said the country should trust experts as he named a graduate student who was hired by the government to help with the modeling that predicts the trajectory for infections and deaths. Jensen is in agreement with the other GOP lawmakers when he says that the state does a poor job protecting long-term care residents.

  7. June 12, 2020

    Jensen refers to the DFL governor’s campaign slogan, One Minnesota, during debate at the Minnesota Legislature on another attempt to end Walz’s emergency powers. “One Minnesota was not meant to be one ruler in Minnesota,” Jensen also compared COVID-19 with the annual flu.

    Sen. Scott Jensen.

    Andrew Olmsheid/Minnesota Senate

  8. July 10, 2020

    Jensen is back on FOX News to tell Walz that he is spreading misinformation about pandemics due to early pandemic modeling which was becoming too pessimistic. Jensen claims he is a target for the “medical mafia”, due to his complaints against the state medical licensing board.

  9. Oct. 24, 2020

    Jensen will be speaking at the Global Health Freedom Summit in Alexandria. He joins other prominent doubters about vaccines and the effects of the pandemic.

  10. Dec. 16, 2020

    Politifact also includes Jensen’s statements regarding hospitals misidentifying COVID patients to increase insurance reimbursements in its ” 2020 Lüge of the Year: Coronavirus Upplay and Denial.”

    Politifact’s Year-End Lie

    Politifact sreenshot

  11. Jan. 29, 2021

    Jensen is no longer a state senator. He appears on “The Ingraham Angle” again to discuss “The medical establishment’s war on COVID therapeutics.” Jensen mentions the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak of the mid-’70s as one example of different antibiotics being used when the more common treatments failed. He said that a medical tradition includes the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin before they are prescribed.

  12. March 2021

    Jensen announces his candidacy to governor in a statement which ties his campaign to work on issues such as the pandemic or government responses. A release announcing his candidacy said that Scott had gained national attention for criticizing the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on coronavirus deaths dues to inflated numbers. “He has been searching for truth and will continue to expose the facts about COVID-19, the measures Gov. Walz has already implemented.”

    Supporters of Republican Scott Jensen.

    MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

  13. May 2021

    Jensen is the first plaintiff in a federal suit filed in December by America’s Frontline Doctors. This lawsuit seeks to stop inoculations for children with COVID-19 vaccines, which had been administered to adults in December. The suit describes the vaccines as an “experimental biologic agent.” Jensen, a right-leaning group, says he didn’t read the entire lawsuit before signing on to the suit. Simone Gold, the founder of the group that was accused of prescribing unfounded treatment via telemedicine was convicted and sentenced to prison for his participation in the Jan. 6 attempt block the certification regarding the election of President Biden.

  14. May 14, 2022

    Jensen, who secured the GOP endorsement as governor, was asked how he makes Walz’s pandemic response an issue after many people have moved on. “Absolutely, it’s not top-of-mind. It’s almost out-of-mind now. However, there were important decisions that should not be repeated. That’s where I believe we’ll land. We won’t nitpick. We’re not going to nitpick. So, I may be outside of the mainstream of what you would consider the established scientific community. There are many, including Robert Redfield, the former director of CDC who have made substantial progress towards the same positions as me.

    Scott Jensen speaks during the GOP convention

    MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

  15. June 12, 2022

    Jensen talks about his vaccination status with Pioneer Press. He says that he was infected by the COVID virus in July 2020 and is now immune. His status means that he is in violation of federal regulations that require health care workers to get vaccinated. He has also given up his hospital admission privileges and a University of Minnesota faculty job. Jensen said he does not recommend vaccination of pregnant patients, even though vaccines are recommended by the CDC.

  16. June 17, 2022

    Jensen is now the GOP-endorsed candidate for governor. He tells his supporters in a video that new appointments would be made to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. The board investigated complaints against Jensen for statements regarding COVID-19, unproven medicines like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and other criticisms of public health responses to the pandemic. The complaints were never addressed by the board.

  17. Aug. 3, 2022

    The GOP candidate for the nomination brings up the pandemic several more times during the first and only debate between Walz & Jensen. He also asserts that some of the economic woes are related to the shutdowns of two previous years. When you make people afraid of working, you can get them to stay on the couch and watch television. You don’t tell people how to strengthen their immune systems. You take away their options for treatment of the disease,… you scare people.” Jensen also defends and explains the COVID vaccine. “Over 90% of my patients over 70 who have underlying medical conditions were vaccinated.”

    Gov. Farmfest: Scott Jensen and Tim Walz

    MinnPost photo taken by Peter Callaghan

  18. Aug. 22, 2022

    The TC Jewfolk publishes a story on remarks Jensen made in April to Mask Off Minnesota. In it, he compares pandemic regulations to the rise to Nazi Germany. “And then, the little things became something larger. Kristallnacht was then created. The night of breaking glass. The book was then set ablaze and Hitler grew in power. World War II was born. In a sense, that’s why you are here today. You can sense something’s happening and it’s growing slowly.” Jensen will defend the comparison and deny that others are his “thought police person”.

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