Former state party chairman Keith Downey (R), Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), and Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens (R) indicated they won’t step aside for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) should he decide to run.
Downey: “I think there are some interesting challenges for a two-term governor who’s been out of the state working as a lobbyist for Wall Street in Washington, DC. Especially when you travel this state and you see what people think about politics and politicians and government and these entrenched special interests.”
Johnson: “If he decides to challenge me as the endorsement candidate in the primary, I would run an aggressive campaign.”
Giuliani Stephens: “You know, since Minnesota has gone to four-year terms for governors, Minnesotans have never elected a governor to a third term. … So, I think the question is, is that something they’d be willing to do or are they looking for something new? I think Minnesotans might be looking for something new and maybe some new solutions and bold leadership.”
“Another likely challenge for Pawlenty is that he didn’t support Donald Trump for president in 2016. Downey, Johnson and Giuliani Stephens all stressed that they think the president is doing a good job, and they would love to have him campaign for them in Minnesota.” (MPR)