We had the opportunity to ask Hennepin County Commission Jeff Johnson (R-MN) how he planned to beat recent history, his own and every other Republican statewide candidate. As we have pointed out time after time no Republican has won statewide since 2006.
C&B: A Republican hasn’t won statewide office with greater than 47%, that goes back to Tim Pawlenty in 2006, in 2014 you had 44.51% what are you going to do this time that’s actually going to show you can deliver a majority?
Jeff Johnson: “Well, there’s a couple of things. Number one, we don’t have a third-party candidate, an Independence Party candidate that’s a former Republican, we did that four years ago, so that was four points right there, and we don’t have an Independence Party candidate at all. So, one of us is probably going to get right around 50% or just over 50%. The two Independence Party candidates are minor party candidates, the other big difference is there’s no incumbent this time, it’s completely different. And I can tell you, it’s completely different. I spent 12 days at the fair in 2014, and I will spend 12 days at the fair in 2018, the attitude of voters this year is night and day from four years ago. I had an awful lot of people four years ago come up to me and say, Jeff I really like you, I like what you have to say, but things seem okay right now in Minnesota why should we change horses in midstream. I’ll think about it, but I m not sure. I’m not hearing that from anybody right now we’ve got Democrats who are coming up to the table, lots of union workers, private sector union workers who coming up to the table and saying we’ve got to doing something different, it is time. So, I think there’s an attitude right now and an expectation that’s dramatically different from four years ago.
We pressed our point with the following question.
C&B: Alright, two years ago, Donald Trump got 44.91% of the vote, so there’s not been a Republican carried the state here in Minnesota in over twenty year, really, how do you think it’s going to be you?
Jeff Johnson: Because I think the people are looking for something different then what they have been looking for in a long time. I feel it out here. I hear it out hear. I have been here a lot, and I have been here a lot in the past. The energy out there for real change and I represent change and Tim (Walz) represents a third-term for Dayton is pretty dramatic.
One key point we would like to raise that makes Johnson’s answer interesting is in 2014 third-party votes totaled 5.38% the margin between Dayton and Johnson was 5.56%, so the third-party impact was not enough to change the result and lack of any viable third-party candidates this election. Johnson is right the winner will likely exceed 50% and past history shows it is not likely to be a Republican.
Here is the audio, be warned the interview starts at the 36th second.