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DGA Statement on Jeff Johnson’s Primary Victory in Minnesota

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Tonight, Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Jared Leopold released the following statement on Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson’s gubernatorial nomination in Minnesota:
“Tonight, the Republican Party showed how far-right it has become in Minnesota. Minnesota Republicans nominated a candidate whom Tim Pawlenty called unelectable.
“This is a major embarrassment for national Republicans, who shunned Jeff Johnson’s candidacy and tried to hand-pick a nominee. Now, they’re left with a fringe candidate who is out of step with Minnesota voters.
“Jeff Johnson ran one of the most right-wing campaigns in modern Minnesota history.  He campaigned on restricting a woman’s right to choose, ripping health care away from Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions, and promoting bizarre conspiracy theories of Muslim ‘infiltration.’
“Minnesotans can’t afford the disastrous policies of Jeff Johnson. His views were outside the mainstream in 2014 when he lost to Governor Dayton, and they are outside the mainstream now. Will the RGA support his candidacy? It seems doubtful based on their excitement about Pawlenty’s failed candidacy.”
Pawlenty Called Johnson “Unelectable Statewide.” According to the Associated Press, “Pawlenty and Johnson ended their primary campaign much the way it began — with Johnson touting his support among GOP party activists, Pawlenty calling Johnson unelectable statewide after his 2014 loss to Dayton and the pair squabbling over who insulted President Donald Trump worse ahead of the 2016 presidential election.”[Associated Press, 8/14/18]
Pawlenty: “Jeff Johnson Can’t Win the Primary or the General Election.” According to a WCCO interview, Pawlenty said, “Jeff’s a good guy but I don’t think he’s in a position to win either the primary or the general election. We need a strong candidate on the Republican side.”  [WCCO, 6/5/18]
Minnesota Post Headline: “GOP Governor Primary May Come Down to Who’s a Better, Truer, Trump-Ier Conservative.” [Minnesota Post, 8/8/18]
Johnson Said “Overall, Policy-Wise, I Have Agreed” with Trump. According to the Pioneer Press, “He said the president is doing well in office, even though he differs with some of Trump’s actions, adding, ‘I wish he had more self-control.’ ‘Overall, policy-wise, I have agreed with what he is trying to do,’ Johnson said.” [Pioneer Press, 5/10/17]
Johnson Defended GOP Lawmakers Who Warned of Muslim-Americans “Infiltrating” Precinct Caucuses. According to the Star Tribune, “Jeff Johnson, a leading Republican candidate for governor, was pressed in a podcast interview this week to defend GOP lawmakers who have warned of Muslim-Americans ‘infiltrating’ the upcoming precinct caucuses. Reps. Cindy Pugh and Kathy Lohmer were criticized by fellow Republicans and civic groups after they claimed there is a plan to “mobilize Muslims to infiltrate our Republican caucuses on Feb. 6.’ Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, applauded Pugh on a conservative podcast Wednesday: ‘Putting Republicans on notice,’ he said, is ‘a good thing.’ ‘I think [Pugh] raises very legitimate issues. I think there’s a huge cultural issue we’re talking about here.’” [Star Tribune, 2/1/18]
Johnson Said He Would Support a “Heartbeat Bill” as Governor, Severely Restricting a Women’s Right to Choose. According to an MPR interview:
Jeff Johnson: So I am pro-life and I believe in exceptions to that for the life of the mother, or rape, or incest. But I am pro-life and would sign a pro-life bill if it came through, should Roe v Wade be overturned. I think realistically in Minnesota, what you would probably see rather than just a full-blown outlawing of abortion, I think you’d probably see some greater restrictions than what we have right now. Certainly on taxpayer-funded abortions which we could do right now. But also on, for example, the Heartbeat bill, that I think we saw pass in Iowa. That said if you can hear and feel a heartbeat, than that is a living child and you shouldn’t be able to abort them.
Kerri Miller: And you would support legislation like that?
Johnson: I would.” [MPR, 7/23/18]
Johnson Opposed the ACA and Attacked Requirements Under the Law, Which Included Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Not Charging Women More Than Men for Health Coverage. According to the Echo Journal, “‘We are in a considerably worse place than we were before the ACA (Affordable Care Act), before Obamacare.’ His answer is twofold, Johnson said—much of the issue being a lack of personal agency by health care recipients across the state, as well as a lack of options for these people when they’re given the ability to determine their own care. Rectifying the larger issue of health care means rectifying those discrepancies, he said, which means rolling back unnecessary mandates and creating a free market system driving competition.” [Echo Journal, 7/10/18]