Minnesota Democratic Gov. Walz reelected over Republican challenger Scott Jensen

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(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota incumbent Democratic Governor Tim Walz has been reelected by defeating Republican challenger, Scott Jensen.

The Associated Press called the race at around 10:27 p.m. after Walz earned 57.6% of votes.

Walz and incumbent Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan ran on a platform of “One Minnesota,” discussing the unprecedented challenges Minnesotans have experienced the past few years and pushing the issue of abortion rights that Democrats nationwide have relied on.

Jensen and former Minnesota Vikings player Matt Birk ran on a platform of “Heal Minnesota,” claiming Walz and company failed throughout those crises and promising to make changes in the areas of public safety, health care and economics.

Two third-party candidates also ran: Steve Patterson from the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis party and James McCaskel from the Legal Marijuana Now party.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement after the governor’s race was called for Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan:

“I would like to congratulate Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan for their historic victory this evening. For the first time in Minnesota history, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party will hold the office of Governor of Minnesota for four consecutive terms.

“Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan faced unprecedented challenges during their time in office, but they led Minnesota with courage, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of all Minnesotans. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan did a better job of saving lives during the pandemic than almost any other state, they passed the largest jobs bill in Minnesota history, and they invested heavily in public schools across Minnesota. Tonight, voters have delivered these fantastic DFL Party leaders a mandate to continue their work of uniting our state behind our shared values and leading us forward as One Minnesota.”

DFL Party Chairman, Ken Martin

Walz and Flanagan spoke Tuesday night, thanking Minnesotans and also Jensen and Birk.

“Well, Minnesota, democracy is alive and well in this state. Well done,” Walz told cheering supporters in a voice hoarse from the home stretch on the campaign trail. “Minnesotans made a conscious choice tonight. To choose a positive future, to choose one where our better days lie ahead. To choose one that rejects the negative, divisive politics and chooses the whole path of each and every one of us to be the best we possibly can.”

“I want to make sure that all of us, with heartfelt sincerity, thank Scott Jensen and Matt Birk for putting themselves out there to run, to put out their family into this arena and come to the democracy and now ask, let’s join together to solve Minnesota’s problems, so thank you for that,” Walz added.

Jensen told supporters the election results were “disappointing” as they continued to trickle in, but did not immediately concede.

“When the night is over, who knows?” Jensen said. “Perhaps the machine, and the money, and the control of the media, might be enough one more time, for the liberal Tim Walz. We don’t know yet. We’re not done yet.”

Walz’s victory extends the Democratic Party’s 12-year grip on the governor’s office. The last time a Minnesota Republican won statewide office was in 2006, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty was reelected.