The Star Tribune, Minnesota’s leading news source, has only endorsed one Republican for governor during the state’s last eight gubernatorial elections.
Apart from its 1994 endorsement of Republican Arne Carlson, The Star Tribune has otherwise supported six Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party candidates, and one Independence Party candidate since 1990.
In order, The Star Tribune endorsed DFLer Rudy Perpich in 1990, followed by Carlson, Skip Humphrey, Tim Penny, Mike Hatch, Tom Horner, Mark Dayton, and now Tim Walz.
Although Penny was technically recruited by former Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-MN) to run as an Independence Party candidate, he had previously served as a congressman for Minnesota’s First Congressional District for more than 10 years as a member of the DFL Party.
The Star Tribune never endorsed Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) during the general elections, including during his 2006 reelection campaign against Hatch.
“His personal story, public record, policy positions and campaign performance all buttress his promise to bring bridge-building leadership to the governor’s office,” The Star Tribune Editorial Board argues, saying Walz’s “congressional record reveals his bent toward bipartisanship.”
While the board concedes that Johnson is “gubernatorial material,” it believes that “Walz outmatches Johnson in evincing the capacity and drive to heal a divided state.”
The board then criticizes Johnson for making “much of a hot-button issue that belongs in the federal realm,” namely “immigration” and “advocating for an indefinite end to refugee resettlement in Minnesota.”
“On that and other issues, Johnson displays more devotion to ideology than to data about the impact of government policies,” the board concludes.
The Star Tribune has endorsed mostly Democrats in other key statewide races, including both Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), as well as DFLers Angie Craig, Dan Feehan, and Dean Phillips.
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