Before March 1, 2016, I was a political outsider — a former corporate-marketing-leader-turned-small-business owner. I turned out for my first-ever caucus that year, because I was frustrated with the government and wanted to have more of a say in the election process beyond just voting in the general election in November.

Somehow, I went from turning up to my first-ever caucus to just over a year later being elected as the chairwoman for the Republican Party of Minnesota.

What we have at stake in the Minnesota primary on Tuesday, Aug. 14, is the future of our state. Perhaps the most significant vote on the primary ballot is for governor.

On June 2, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson earned the endorsement for governor at our Minnesota GOP State Convention.

I first met Jeff when I was a political nobody in 2016. He always treated me with kindness, welcomed me into the Republican Party of Minnesota and encouraged my involvement along the way.

I’ve watched Jeff work so hard for more than a year to be able to run for governor. He’s driven all over this state, has built our grass roots and has been a champion of our party.

Jeff is not a typical politician. He’s not in this for personal gain or to climb some ladder to further himself. He’s truly in this race because he cares about our state and wants to help ensure that our state stays prosperous and successful for generations to come.

As an adopted Korean, I have always believed one of our most important rights and freedoms is the right to vote in a fair and free election process. That is a right I have never taken for granted.

This is a tough race. The primary will come down to the wire. I encourage everyone voting on the Republican side to consider casting their vote for Jeff Johnson. He has earned the right to be on the general election ballot.

From this political nobody to state party chairwoman, I am glad I got involved in the electoral process, am humbled to serve as the Minnesota GOP chairwoman and am honored to have cast my vote for Jeff Johnson for governor.

Jennifer Carnahan is chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota.