Minnesota Republican activists will meet in Rochester next May to make an important political decision.
State GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan announced last week that the state Republican convention will be held May 13-14, 2022, in Rochester. The main event will be endorsing a Republican challenger to Gov. Tim Walz, expected to seek a second term.
It's likely to be a fight. While the only big name in the race right now is former state Sen. Scott Jensen, a Chaska doctor, several of his former Senate colleagues have said they are considering a run: Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka of East Gull Lake, Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake and Sen. Karin Housley of Stillwater.
The party endorsement still carries major currency with Minnesota Republicans. The party-endorsed candidate has gone on to become the nominee in every election going back to 1998.
Republicans will also endorse candidates for state attorney general, state auditor and secretary of state, all of which, like the governor's office, are now held by Democrats. No Republican candidate has won a statewide election in Minnesota since 2006, and you have to go back to 1994 to find a Republican — former Gov. Arne Carlson — who carried an outright majority of voters statewide.
It's the first time since 2014 that Republicans will hold their biennial party gathering in Rochester.