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Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.
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Former Minnesota state senator Dr. Scott Jensen is the Minnesota GOP’s endorsed candidate for governor.

At Saturday’s party endorsement convention, Jensen, a family physician from Chaska, beat out several other contenders, including Sen. Paul Gazelka, Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy, Neil Shah and Kendall Qualls.

The endorsement process spanned multiple rounds of voting. Jensen ultimately earned the support of 2,200 party members.

There were controversies during the voting process involving Jensen's rivals Kendall Qualls and Mike Murphy. Murphy ultimately threw his weight behind Jensen after claiming Qualls had made him an offer to be his Lieutenant Governor, which Qualls denied.

During his speech to delegates at the convention, Jensen made allusions to the conspiracy theories of dead people voting, repeated his apparent stance of jailing Secretary of State Steve Simon, and also suggested he would commute the sentence of Kim Potter, the police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.

“We are going to win. We are going to heal Minnesota. And we are never going to look back,” Jensen wrote on Twitter following the endorsement. 

Jensen’s running mate is former Vikings player Matt Birk. If elected in August’s primary, Jensen will challenge Gov. Tim Walz for the governor’s office.

Murphy, Gazelka, Shah and Qualls have vowed not to run in the primary if they aren’t endorsed, according to MinnPost. Former Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek, who is also running for governor as a Republican, did not seek the party’s endorsement.

Jensen has garnered national attention in recent years over his controversial remarks regarding COVID-19, describing himself as a "skeptic" about the virus which has killed more than one million people in America since early 2020.

In September, he called on his supporters to practice “civil disobedience” against requirements that large employers require employees to be vaccinated or regularly tested.

He also signed onto a lawsuit last year aiming to block vaccines in children. Jensen later removed his name from the lawsuit, which was filed by a group whose leader is charged in connection with the Capitol Insurrection.

And as it emerged that the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, Jensen has said he would move to ban abortions if he were to become governor, and would not include exceptions in cases of rape and incest, but would "of a mother's life is in danger."

Martin also criticized Jensen’s recent statements calling for the jailing of Secretary of State Steve Simon over the state’s handling of the 2020 election. Jensen has amplified false claims of election fraud by refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as the legitimate winner.

“Minnesota Republicans have chosen the most extreme and dangerous candidate to lead their party in the fall,” Martin said in a statement. “In just the last two weeks, Scott Jensen has promised to ban abortion for rape victims and to throw one of his political opponents in jail.

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