Several recently conducted straw polls regarding a Republican gubernatorial candidate for the 2022 election have been inconclusive. One poll, conducted by delegates for the party, had State Senator Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) in the lead. Another poll conducted by the Minnesota Family Council after a gubernatorial debate, favored business owner and doctor, Dr. Neil Shah.
The Minnesota Republican Party’s straw poll, held in early December, had around 300 participants. Axios reported that the winner of that poll was Senator Paul Gazelka, with 37% of the vote. Second place was given to Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), who obtained 22% of the vote.
The results are in from the gubernatorial straw poll at the Minnesota State Central Committee Meeting! Senator Paul Gazelka led the candidates with 37% of the votes cast. pic.twitter.com/F7MvzJSkgu
— Republican Party of Minnesota (@mngop) December 15, 2021
Dr. Scott Jensen earned a third place spot in the official Republican straw poll, with 20% of the votes, followed by Shah, and Mike Murphy, the mayor of Lexington, Minnesota.
Another straw poll, conducted at a Governor Forum held by Minnesota Family Council in December, had nearly opposite results, with Gazelka coming in last with a mere 10.2% of the votes. Shah, a first-time politician got the majority of the vote, winning 48.5% of the 206 votes.
Straw Poll from tonight's Governor Forum in Plymouth, Minnesota
Shah: 100 – 48.5%
Benson: 31 – 15%
Jensen: 29 – 14.1%
Murphy: 25 – 12.1%
Gazelka: 21 – 10.2%
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) December 16, 2021
KSTP and Survey USA conducted a head-to-head matchup poll between current Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) and the Republican frontrunners to identify who would be most likely to win against Walz.
According to the survey, Jensen and Murphy scored the highest when compared to Walz, each obtaining 36% of the vote in the surveys. Shah scored the lowest, at 31% followed by Gazelka and Benson.
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) December 9, 2021
One gubernatorial candidate has already dropped out of the race. Mike Marti announced that he was dropping out on December 13, saying, “I feel it is best at this time to suspend my campaign for Governor.”
Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign!
I have enjoyed campaigning across our beautiful state and getting to know so many of the delegates, I feel it is best at this time to suspend my campaign for Governor. pic.twitter.com/Kje0cCjd8K
— Mike Marti (@MikeMartiForMN) December 13, 2021
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Hayley Feland is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “Paul Gazelka” by Minnesota Senate Republicans CC BY 2.0. Photo “Neil Shah” by Dr. Neil Shah.