Beaten in 2014, Jeff Johnson announces another run for governor

Johnson received 44.5 percent of the vote in 2014.

Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson has announced he will run again for the Republican ticket at the 2018 gubernatorial election in Minnesota.

Johnson ran in 2014 and gained 44.5 percent of the vote, but this was not enough to unseat Democrat Mark Dayton who won a second term with 50.1 percent.

In a video called "Party Crasher," a plain-dressed Johnson enters a Great Gatsby-esque DFL gathering of tuxedoed revelers and says: "Sorry folks, party's over."

"What you've all been doing in this state the past few years has been devastating to average Minnesotans," he continues. "Your belief that you know better than Minnesotans; how they should spend their money and live their lives, has led to skyrocketing insurance premiums, more traffic congestion, stagnant wages and Minnesota's own swamp of cronyism and political favors."

He lists some of his policies, including a cap on property taxes and creating an automatic tax refund when the state posts a surplus as it has done the last several years. This has been a common call among GOPers in the state legislature.

Significantly for Twin Cities residents, Johnson says he would focus his transportation spending on roads and buses, "not trains."

This is a reference to his longstanding opposition as a Hennepin County commissioner to the Southwest Light Rail expansion, an unpopular project among rural Republican politicians, with Johnson having previously referred to it as a "preposterous waste."

He hits on another popular GOP talking point, the unelected Metropolitan Council, which he says he'd scrap if voted in.

You can find more on his policies here.

Born and raised in Detroit Lakes, Johnson worked in the employment and labor law department at Cargill before starting his own HR training business in 2001. He served as a state representative from 2000-2006 and in 2008 became a Hennepin County commissioner.

After running for governor in 2014, he was the state chair for Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary in Minnesota, which Rubio won, before serving as Minnesota co-chair for Sen. Ted Cruz.

Johnson joins a handful of other Republicans who have announced their intention to run, including state Rep. Matt Dean and Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman. MPR has some more on the prospective candidates here.

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