Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and GOP nominee Scott Jensen have framed themselves as political polar opposites who agree on few, if any, issues.

But they once overlapped on some insulin, marijuana and gun policies, particularly back when Jensen was an unpredictable state senator willing to break ranks with his party.

They applauded each other in April 2020 as Walz signed a low-cost emergency insulin program into law. Jensen, a Chaska physician, sponsored the insulin affordability bill in the Senate, and DFL Rep. Mike Howard carried it in the House.

"I want to thank Rep. Howard and Sen. Jensen for the work that you did, for continuing to doggedly pull this thing along ... and to deliver a product that it's our hope does exactly what it said: Makes life-saving insulin affordable to everyone," Walz said during the bill-signing ceremony held remotely via Zoom.

Jensen returned the praise, describing Walz as a "very positive force" who helped keep negotiations alive until a bipartisan agreement was reached.

"You said we could get this done. You were absolutely committed to 'can we find the common ground?' " Jensen told Walz. "You rejuvenated the effort."


In March 2018, Jensen came out in favor of having universal background checks for gun sales and transfers. Walz, serving in Congress at the time, was a proponent for universal background checks then and has remained so.

Now running for governor, Jensen says one of his priorities is to expand the right to use deadly force in self-defense. In a video message last year, he said he would also "pass a constitutional carry bill."

"If we end up with four more years of Tim Walz, I am terrified of what will happen to our Second Amendment rights," Jensen said in the video.

Walz and Jensen have both encouraged dialogue about legalizing recreational marijuana.

While in the Senate, Jensen co-sponsored a marijuana legalization bill. He said he had concerns about criminalization and wanted to start a discussion.

Since taking office, Walz has called for marijuana legalization and said he'd sign a bill if it reaches his desk.

But in an August interview at the Star Tribune's State Fair booth, Jensen said he would rather let voters decide on marijuana via a constitutional ballot amendment instead of having the Legislature legalize it.

"If we can have a discussion and then put it on the ballot as an amendment, I think that makes a lot of sense," Jensen said. He added he thinks Minnesota should consider decriminalizing possession of "trivial amounts" of marijuana and expunging records.

Walz also weighed in on the topic during a State Fair interview. Cannabis prohibition does not work, he said, noting that certain groups have been "unfairly targeted" with its criminalization.

"I've always felt that it should be legal, it should be well-regulated," Walz said. "I trust adults to make their own decisions."