Skip to main content

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen shared a stage Wednesday during the first debate of the gubernatorial race. 

The debate at Minnesota Farmfest lasted over an hour and highlighted disagreements between the two candidates on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic, crime and energy policy. 

Walz touted the state's pandemic response and efforts to help address long-term care staffing shortages, indicating more could've been done if Republicans hadn't walked away from state budget negotiations. 

He repeatedly chided Jensen, a skeptic of COVID-19 vaccine safety and critic of mitigation measures, for spreading "misinformation". 

Jensen, on the other hand, referred to state lockdowns as "an abomination of government overreach" and stated many Minnesotans felt like "subjects under an Emperor." 

“Did you notice that you could get a haircut during the second lockdown but not during the first?" he questioned. "Where was the science?” 

On issues of vehicle emissions standards and biofuels, Jensen accused Walz of wanting Minnesota to become a "California-copycat" — a remark met with cheers from the audience. 

Walz maintained Minnesota has only scratched the surface of the state's full potential in being a leader in biofuel production and innovation. 

Many of Wednesday's questions related to the challenges facing greater Minnesota, such as population decline in rural areas. 

In discussing how he'd address these issues, Jensen claimed Minnesota has a hostile attitude towards businesses and called to "get government out of the way." 

"We have regulated, permitted, licensed, these various industries to death," he said. 

Walz pointed to local government aid as a tool to help farming towns build the amenities needed to keep the community strong. 

"It's about how do you solve the problem," he said. "That's what the job of governor is." 

The full debate, shared by MPR News, can be found here

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 8.31.42 PM

Flash flooding as torrential rain hammers Cambridge

Flooding and damage from a non-severe storm Wednesday evening.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 4.02.18 PM

Minneapolis nonprofit celebrates anonymous donor's $1.5M gift

Appetite For Change is building sustainable, local food systems in North Minneapolis.

police lights

On the lam since 2007, suspect in MN murder case arrested in Florida

The suspect is one of three men connected to a fatal drive-by shooting on St. Paul's West Side.

Deer on road

Motorcyclist in collision with deer dies from injuries

The 55-year-old from Princeton died at a hospital a day after the crash.


Burnsville approves measure that will make its landfill much taller

The expansion will increase the landfill's allowable height by an additional 268 feet.

michael carbo

Northern MN man found guilty in 1980s cold case murder

Nancy Daugherty was found dead in the afternoon hours of July 16, 1986.

Red Ox Cafe

Breakfast spot in Ham Lake closes after decades in business

The business posted an announcement on its front door.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 1.43.04 PM

St. Paul man killed partner, himself while their 5 kids were home

St. Paul confirmed the double shooting on Tuesday evening was murder-suicide.

Kids competing in USA Mullet Championships

Minnesota, Wisconsin kids competing in USA Mullet Championships

The contest is divided into kids and teens divisions.


One killed after being trapped under UTV near Alexandria

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says the victim died at the scene.


What's in the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Biden?

How the nation's biggest climate law will reduce emissions.

Patrick Henry High School

Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis will get new name

A school board meeting was held this week, discussing what's next going forward.


Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Walz, Jensen clash over 'extreme' abortion views

The two clashed over the topic on Tuesday, following the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Jensen vows medical board investigating him 'will be dealt with'

Jensen says the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice is investigating him for the fifth time.

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

MN Gun Owners Caucus won't endorse gubernatorial candidate in 2022

The organization endorsed Scott Jensen for Minnesota Senate in 2016.

Dr Scott Jensen health freedom conference Sept 25 2021 screengrab

Dr. Scott Jensen continues to tout unproven ivermectin as treatment for COVID

The gubernatorial candidate suggested skeptics "get some worms and have them creep out of your anus."

Scott Jensen YouTube video screengrab Sept 10 2021

Vaccine skeptic gov. candidate calls for 'civil disobedience' over COVID rules

"Meet the moment with me," Dr. Scott Jensen told supporters in a video Friday.

matt birk and scott jensen

Jensen names former Viking Matt Birk his running mate for governor

Birk has been criticized for his conservative views.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.

flickr - gov tim walz - mn senate dfl

Overturning Roe v. Wade won't do a 'damn thing' to prevent abortions, Walz says

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Saturday meant to protect abortion access in the state and people who come from out of state seeking one.