"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:
Republican candidate for governor Scott Honour has added another $500,000 in personal funds to his campaign coffers, his campaign manager said Thursday.
The new cash infusion just 19 days before Minnesotans decide whether to pick him or one of his rivals to take on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in the fall could give the little-known businessman a boost in the final days of the campaign.
"From the start, Scott's made sure the campaign has what it takes financially to win the Governor's race. But this campaign is about a lot more than money. It's about who voters can trust to make real change in St Paul," said Honour senior consultant Pat Shortridge.
So far, Honour has been the best funded GOP candidate for governor, with more than $900,000 of his campaign cash coming from his own pocket. His campaign said he raised $100,000 from others in the past few months.
He will face fellow Republicans Kurt Zellers, a former House speaker, Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader, and Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner and the GOP-endorsed pick in the primary. Honour is the only one among the bunch who has never run for office before.
Minnesotans have proven they bear no ill-will toward self-funded candidates.
Gov. Mark Dayton largely self-financed his campaign for governor in 2010 and his previous successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. He is fundraising from others for his re-election campaign.
All candidates must report their most recent campaign finance numbers on Monday. Those will be made public on Tuesday.
Photo: Scott Honour in a St. Cloud parade/Glenn Stubbe, Star Tribune
Correction: This post has corrected Pat Shortridge' title.
Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton earned $352,601, a little less than half of which came from capital gains, according to tax returns he released on Wednesday.
The DFL governor, who has released his tax returns every year since 2010, gave $10,000 to charity and paid $76,008 in federal taxes and $29,932 in state taxes, for an effective tax rate of 30 percent.
The heir to the Dayton's department store fortune earned $116,092 from his state salary and $73,062 from dividends.
In 2012, Dayton earned a similar amount from similar sources but only gave $1,000 to charity. He said at the time that he was" disappointed in myself," because of his lack of charitable contributions. He gave ten times more in 2013 than he gave in 2012. His total giving equaled about 3 percent of his 2013 income.
Releasing tax returns is not a requirement of Minnesota politicians. State law mandates only minimal release of economic interests.
Zellers’ spokeswoman Caitlyn Stenerson said he will not release his until post-primary because getting them ready would take too much precious time during the heated run-up to the August 12 election.
GOP candidate Marty Seifert declined to release his tax information last year and did so again this year.
"I don't think our income tax return is anyone's business, but can assure you our household income is less than the other GOP candidates and much less than Governor Dayton," Seifert said in a statement.
The four Republicans will vie in an August primary. The winner of that contest will face Dayton in the fall.
Legislators are picking sides in the Republican governor's race.
On Wednesday both Republicans Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader from Marshall, and Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner released lists of lawmakers who have their backs.
Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who currently represents Maple Grove in the House, announced a list of current and former lawmakers in his corner two weeks ago. The three will face off against each other and businessman Scott Honour, the only one of the quartet who has not served in the Legislature, in an August primary.
Johnson's list of lawmaker-supporters is the longest, which stands to reason because he is the Republican Party's endorsed candidate for governor. Partisans are encouraged to back the candidate the party backs.
Supporters released by the Johnson campaign on Wednesday:
Former Republican legislators endorsing Johnson include:
Supporters released by the Seifert campaign on Wednesday:
Seifert's campaign said more lawmaker support is coming.
"Marty Seifert’s campaign for governor has locally announced several legislative endorsements from current and former legislators over the last week and will continue to do so for the next 10 days," it said in a news release.
Honour, who has not released a list of his legislative supporters, took a whack at his rivals through his campaign's Twitter account.
Photo: Minnesota Capitol/Source: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Updates: The word "pressured" regarding the expectation that partisan support party-backed candidate has been changed to "encouraged."
The HonourHousley tweet has also been added.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is expected to be "back to normal health in a matter of days," according to information released by his campaign Tuesday.
On Monday, Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, went to urgent care with stomach pain and doctors quickly determined he needed surgery. He was taken to Maple Grove Hospital where surgeons repaired "a small perforation" in his stomach.
His campaign quoted Maple Grove Hospital's Megan Fasching as saying that the condition from which Johnson suffered, a peptic ulcer, was fairly common.
"He tolerated the surgery well and is on the road to recovery. He should be back to normal health in a matter of days with no long term effects," Fasching said.
His campaign said he would be back on the trail soon.
Johnson faces a four-way primary in August against former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Rep. Kurt Zellers and Wayzata businessman Scott Honour.
Photo: Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research