Jeff Johnson ponders run for Minn. governor

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson says he’s thinking about running for governor. Johnson, who also serves as Minnesota’s Republican National Committeeman, told MPR News today that he’s pondering a run.

“I’m thinking about that,” Johnson said. “That comes down to a family decision in the next months as to whether we can make it work or not but I do have an interest in that.”

Johnson won his second term as Hennepin county commissioner on Tuesday night. He’s well connected to Minnesota’s business community and has earned high marks from Republicans for being a “Hennepin County Taxpayer Watchdog.”

Johnson also is well connected to the Minnesota Legislature (he served in the House from 2001-2007). He also ran statewide in 2006, but lost his bid for state attorney general to Democrat Lori Swanson.

Johnson said he and other Republicans will spend next few weeks trying to figure out why Republicans lost key races in Minnesota. Johnson notes the party’s debt and voter turnout efforts, coupled with high DFL voter response in presidential election years were among the factors. He also said the proposed constitutional amendments may have helped Republicans in rural parts of the state but doomed them in the suburbs.

“We have to do an analysis and say, ‘Did the benefits of the marriage amendment in Greater Minnesota pick up any seats for us at all?’” Johnson said. “We know that it probably hurt us and probably contributed to a few suburban losses.”

Johnson says he’s hoping Republicans will learn a bunch of lessons from the 2012 election. He may have an added interest in those fixes if he’s at the top of the ticket in 2014.

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