Republicans' straw poll: Johnson for governor; Ortman for senate

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Here are the straw poll results for senator, from the StarTribune:

Here are the straw poll results for governor, according to the StarTribune.

Republican delegates and alternates to the annual state central committee meeting in Blaine Saturday will give Minnesotans a preview of the Republican year to come, according to MinnPost. The party traditionally holds a straw poll the year before an election. “It creates some excitement around the field,” said Keith Downey, chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

More than a year before that election, many candidates have tossed their hats in the ring to run against Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Senator Al Franken.

MPR News reminds readers that the poll is non-binding, and many Republicans have won the party's nomination without winning the straw poll. Still, it's an important early indicator. " It will help party activists understand the candidates' early support," Downey said. "The public will get to see where the candidates stand at this early stage.

KAAL TV reported that all five announced Republican candidates for governor made their views known at an Olmsted County meeting in Rochester Friday. They were Rob Farnsworth of Hibbing, Wayzata businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, State Senator Dave Thompson from Lakeville, and Representative Kurt Zellers from Maple Grove. Though they have vastly different experience in politics, they sound similar themes on education, health care and taxes. Newcomers like Farnsworth and Honour said being outsiders will help them, while the others said experience will make them better leaders.

"One party totally in control is always, I think, a bit dangerous," said Fran Bradley, a Republican who was in Rochester for the event.

The StarTribune says the straw poll will help volunteers and donors invest in a candidate. A poor finish can be devastating.

The candidates will speak to the 350 delegates before they vote.

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