Molnau backs Johnson, not her old boss, in governor’s race

Former Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau announced her support for Jeff Johnson’s campaign for governor during a state Capitol news conference. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

Carol Molnau served eight years as lieutenant governor under former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but she’s backing another Republican candidate in this year’s race for governor.

Molnau said Friday that she is endorsing Jeff Johnson for governor, even though Pawlenty is running again for his old job.

During a state Capitol news conference, Molnau said she and Johnson share a similar philosophy.

“I’m doing this because I really believe Jeff aligns with my values and principles as closely as any candidate could,” Molnau said. “And I believe Jeff is the most electable.”

When asked about the former governor’s attempted comeback, Molnau said she hasn’t thought about Pawlenty since the two of them left office.

She declined to compare Pawlenty to Johnson.

“The people will make that comparison,” she said.

Molnau, a longtime farmer, will advise Johnson’s campaign and administration on agriculture issues.

Johnson is seeking the Republican endorsement at next month’s state convention. Pawlenty plans to run in the GOP primary. Pawlenty campaign spokesman Sam Winter says Pawlenty appreciates Molnau and wishes her well.

Johnson said he plans to select a running mate before next month’s Republican state convention. But he said he isn’t asking Molnau.

“She made it quite clear, overtime as we talked that she wasn’t interested in coming back to work in St. Paul again,” Johnson said.