Last week, Sen Michele Fischbach (R-13, Paynesville) finally agreed to take the oath of office as Lt Governor. Afterward, she announced she would not be a candidate for reelection to her Senate seat. This quickly led to speculation she would be running for Lt Governor with former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). This maneuver has the fingerprints of former Pawlenty staffer Brian McClung all over it. McClung prior to his stint with Pawlenty was Senate Minority Communications Director, while Fischbach also served.

If the Republicans fail to endorse a candidate for Governor in Duluth this weekend, then the Pawlenty/Fischbach ticket should have the wind at their back. If Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R-MN) is able to repeat his performance from 2014, then the candidates with the greatest appeal to Trump voters will be the order of the year.