"They won't even let me have water," Jeff Johnson, a Republican candidate for governor said Friday from his hospital bed.

Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner who is vying in a competitive August primary, had emergency stomach surgery on Monday. His surgeons discovered a perforation in his stomach and repaired it.

But Johnson is on the mend. He may be allowed to eat -- or at least drink something -- on Saturday and hopes to be released from Maple Grove Hospital Sunday or Monday. He will be back to campaigning next week, although not with full vigor he had before his peptic ulcer was discovered on Monday.

Johnson, who is 47 years old, had little warning of the problem.

He said he suffered from some back and leg pain late last week and was on a course of steroids and ibuprofen to treat it. Then Sunday into the wee hours of Monday, he had severe stomach pain.

Early Monday morning, he went to the urgent care, which eventually sent him on to the hospital for the surgery.

Johnson said he hadn't had similar issues before.

"It was a complete surprise," he said. Although the problem in his stomach was called an ulcer, he said it was not stress-related and was likely made worse by the drugs regimen he had started for his back pain.

Johnson, of Plymouth, said his doctors were unmoved by his jokes that the problem came at a bad time for him politically.

And yes, he said, he has made some fundraising calls from his hospital bed.

"I'm actually hitting up the doctors and nurses pretty hard," he joked.

Johnson will face Rep. Kurt Zellers, former Rep. Marty Seifert, businessman Scott Honour and others in a primary on Aug. 12.

Here's the reflection on his ailment Johnson released on Facebook this week:


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