For months, Star Tribune staff has traipsed along with Republican statewide primary candidates as they campaigned.
Here's what they found of the candidates who will vie in Tuesday's election:
The Republican candidates for governor
"From his Democratic colleagues to his former high school teacher and neighbors, the 47-year-old father of two is described as genial and well-liked. But unlike some politicians, Johnson is not a charismatic, life-of-the-party type. Whether he’s at a parade, the Hmong banquet or even a fundraiser in his own home, his style leans toward mingling, good-natured jokes and a willingness to take questions from all comers.
When Johnson needed emergency surgery for a perforated stomach recently, he was promptly flooded with bipartisan well wishes — including from all his rivals. “That is as much about demeanor or personality as it is about anything,” said Johnson of his cross-partisan appeal."
"Clad in a light blue oxford shirt and khakis, with a boyish haircut, the good-natured and gregarious Zellers came off very much like the middle-class suburban dad that he is. But as he tries to battle past three GOP rivals in the Aug. 12 primary, the Maple Grove legislator is making the most explicitly political pitch: that his tenure as House speaker during the 2011 state government shutdown, when he led Republicans as they clashed with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton over the size of state government, make him the party’s best choice to take on Dayton in November."
"It is the kind of story the former House minority leader knows well: the economic uncertainty and anguish that ripple across Minnesota’s less populated environs as good-paying jobs gravitate to the Twin Cities and other regional centers. A lifelong resident of what he calls “rural Minnesota,” Seifert is trying to harness that anxiety into a political force he hopes can drive him past three fellow Republicans in the Aug. 12 primary — and to a win in November against DFL Gov. Mark Dayton."
"Honour is framing himself as the only successful businessman in a field of leading GOP rivals that, he is happy to point out, have more than 50 years of political experience among them. At each stop, he promises to bring a fearless and uncompromising business-minded approach to state government, whether it is to the state budget, unions or regulations."
The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate
With high aspirations for his first-ever political campaign, the Sunfish Lake investment banker is presenting himself as everything that Washington isn’t — a tactic that appeared to resonate with some gridlock-weary Minnesotans.
"As the incumbent touts his legislative accomplishments in television advertisements about taking on Wall Street and removing tainted food from grocery store shelves, Abeler, who has no television advertising, is incredulous.
“When you have a project that passes 100-0, it’s not controversial. Who’s against food safety? No, I’m for food non-safety. I want my family to be poisoned,” Abeler said. “Let’s go balance the budget. Let’s find a way to serve more disabled people with less money and reform the way we do our business. That’s what I did. What sounds harder to you?”
Text by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, Abby Simons, Patrick Condon and Baird Helgeson.
Photos by Glen Stubbe.