Just a dozen hours after Jeff Johnson won the Republican primary for governor, both he and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton turned their sights to fundraising for the election ahead.
"Will you give $5 or more now to stop the GOP and keep building a Better Minnesota?" Dayton's campaign pleaded in an email fundraiser.
"The message really isn't’ going to change," Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, told reporters Wednesday. "We’ll probably focus more heavily than ever on fundraising because we gotta raise a lot of money in the next 12 weeks.”
Both men will need that focus. Although Dayton has raised and spent more money so far than Johnson, neither has huge cash banked for the November battle.
But will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state subsidies for their campaigns for agreeing to abide by spending limits that allow them to raise around $4 million.
Here are the cash they had as of their last reports. Both have raised and spent more money since then but the exact amounts are not available.
And here are more details:
Ricardo Lopez contributed to this report.
His Republican opponent now set, Gov. Mark Dayton has a busy schedule of appearances around Minnesota this week as he celebrates local building projects made possible with state dollars.
Dayton spoke Wednesday at a ceremony marking the start of a $32 million expansion project at the Mankato Civic Center. The state is covering $14.5 million of the project's cost in the bonding bill Dayton signed earlier this year, with local taxpayers paying the rest.
Mankato-area politicians sought state money for the expansion over the last six years, and several Republican lawmakers joined Dayton at the event including Rep. Tony Cornish and Sen. Julie Rosen.
Dayton said the project "will add hundreds of new jobs, and bring thousands more visitors to Mankato every year." Jeff Johnson, Dayton's newly chosen Republican opponent, has said he believes bonding bills should focus spending on projects with statewide economic benefits.
Jobs and the economy will be a central theme in the election debate between Dayton and his newly chosen Republican opponent, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Republicans have acknowledged the recent healthy performance of Minnesota's economy, but Johnson said in his Tuesday night victory speech that he would try to convince voters that less government spending and regulation would benefit private employers.
Dayton also planned a Wednesday stop at MTU Onsite Energy in Mankato. On Thursday, he's scheduled to attend another groundbreaking, this one in Marshall. The southwestern Minnesota city got $4.3 million in the bonding bill to build a regional sports center, and will provide a 50 percent local match.
These appearances are under the auspices of Dayton's day job. But he's also making time for politics. The governor planned to attend a Tuesday afternoon meet-and-greet event with state House candidate Jack Considine, the DFL-endorsed candidate in the Mankato-area seat being vacated by Rep. Kathy Brynaert.
Dayton's campaign aides have said political stops will remain light on Dayton's schedule until after Sept. 1.
"I'm focused right now on being governor of Minnesota," Dayton said Wednesday at the Mankato groundbreaking. "I have five months left in my term, so that's my focus for now."
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.
GOP candidate for Governor Jeff Johnson was pleased as he looked at race results showing him with a solid lead Tuesday night / Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune
Republican-endorsed candidate for governor Jeff Johnson won the GOP primary and will face DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in the fall.
With about 75 percent of the vote counted, he had about 30 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, had about 24 percent. Former Rep. Marty Seifert and businessman Scott Honour each had about 20 percent.
Before 11 p.m. both the Associated Press and the Star Tribune declared him the winner.
Shortly thereafter, he gave a victory speech at his Plymouth victory party.
"Mark Dayton is a fairly popular incumbent and a lot of people are going to say it's going to be really hard to beat him but we can do that," said Johnson, stressing that they could do it by being united, raising a lot of money, and putting forth a vision that appeals to Republicans and non-Republicans alike.
"I have a vision of a state where politicians understand that taxpayers work really, really had for our money and we treat it just as carefully as those coming out of our pockets, which ain't happening in St. Paul," he said.
Dayton said he called Johnson Tuesday night to congralate him.
"I look forward to engaging in a constructive discussion about the issues important to Minnesotans over the next twelve weeks," he said in a statement.
Earlier Johnson had already made plans for the future.
"It'll be a whole new phase tomorrow," said Johnson. "I think I can present a very positive alternative vision to Gov. Dayton regarding what my priorities can be - how we can do better with respect to jobs."
He said he's not worried about Republican voters staying divided after the four-way race.
"Will there be a handful of people that we'll have to work on? Yes, but overall I feel very good about that."
On Wednesday, the Republican Party plans to hold a news conference with all four GOP candidates for governor as a show of party unity.
The race lacked much bite among the four Republican candidates and well under spent the DFL primary for governor back in 2010.
In defeat, Zellers said: "I love Minnesota. The only party I'm sad about is: I won't be able to sell Minnesota tot he rest of the country."
To run for governor, Zellers decided not to run for re-election to the House.
Maya Rao contributed to this report.
The deputy chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, Chris Fields, sparked a Twitter feud after he defended his comments using Robin Williams' death to plug the GOP-endorsed candidate for governor, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson.
In a reply to a tweet sent Monday night by a DFL staff member who remembered Williams, Fields said: "how very 80's. Want an economy like we had in 80's under Reagan...Vote @Jeff4Gov tomorrow in the primary".
Fields then engaged in a Twitter feud with other users of the social media site who criticized Fields for stumping for votes. The GOP deputy chair defended his original remarks, criticized political correctness and said DFL policies "hurt real [people]."
Fields has since deleted most, but not all of his tweets, and Johnson, in a Twitter post, said the tweets "last night mixing Robin Williams' death [with] politics were inappropriate [and] wrong. America will dearly miss him."
In a statement released by the Minnesota GOP, Fields apologized for his tweets. "My comments were insensitive and inappropiate, and they clearly do not reflect the views of the Republican Party of Minnesota. I am sincerely sorry for my actions."
Fields comments' come at an inopportune time for the state's Republicans. The party is hoping its slew of candidates, including Johnson, can beat DFL candidiates and incumbents in the gubernatorial, legislative and U.S. Congressional races this fall. Voters on Tuesday are heading to polls in a primary election to determine which of four GOP gubernatorial hopefuls will face DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in November.
Updated Aug. 12 at 2:15 p.m. to include Fields' statement.
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