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Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

To beat Dayton, Republicans need to be united, Johnson says

Posted by: Ricardo Lopez under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Democrats, Republicans Updated: August 13, 2014 - 11:47 AM
Jeff Johnson, in blue tie, won his party's primary Tuesday beating his GOP  rivals Rep. Kurt Zellers, former lawmaker Marty Seifert and businessman Scott Honour.

Jeff Johnson, in blue tie, won his party's primary Tuesday beating his GOP rivals Rep. Kurt Zellers, former lawmaker Marty Seifert and businessman Scott Honour.

Flanked by his former rivals, Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson said the morning after winning the GOP primary that he was ready to unite the party and raise the campaign funds he’ll need to mount a credible challenge to Gov. Mark Dayton.

In short remarks, his former rivals -- Rep. Kurt Zellers, former lawmaker Marty Seifert, and business executive Scott Honour -- all said they would support Johnson in the general election.

"We have to be united as a Republican party," Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner said.

Johnson drew 30 percent of the vote in a primary that drew less than 10 percent of eligible voters to the polls. The GOP nominee told reporters Wednesday that the primary's low turn-out wouldn't dampen Republican's enthusiasm for the fall election. 

"Republicans aren't accustomed to primaries," he said. "We haven't had one for twenty-something years...[but] all of us can attest to this, there was a lot of excitement."

Going forward, he said he would he would focus on contrasting his style of governing with that of DFL incumbent Dayton. He said that as governor, he would focus on making government work more efficiently with less money. He said that in the weeks ahead, he would seek to contrast his ideas and style of governing with those of DFL incumbent Dayton.

He said if he were elected governor, he would halt construction on a $90-million Senate office building, criticizing it as a symbol of excessive state spending. Johnson also said he opposed automatic increases to the state's minimum wage. 

Photo by Star Tribune photographer Glen Stubbe.

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