PLYMOUTH, Minn. – Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota Jeff Johnson announced his candidacy for the 2018 governor’s race on social media Wednesday.
Johnson served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for three terms from 2001 to 2007.
“I’m running to take power away from government and return it back to the people of Minnesota,” Johnson said in a press release. “As Governor I will bring fundamental change to a government that costs too much, has grown far too big and taken far too much money and freedom from everyday Minnesotans. That will change in 2018.”
Johnson also launched a campaign site including an announcement video. In it, several people dressed in tuxedos or fancy dresses are sipping champagne in a large mansion. Name tags label certain people as the met council, light rail, MNsure, and other progressive groups and causes, all while a cover of “We’re in the Money” from the 1933 Warner Bros.’ musical film Gold Diggers of 1933 plays on the record player.
Enter the candidate. Dressed in more everyday clothes, he informs the assembled well-to-do crowd that the end of their days leeching off “average Minnesotans” is coming to a close.
“Sorry folks, party’s over. What you’ve all been doing in this state the past few years has been devastating to average Minnesotans,” Johnson said in the video, “Your belief that you know better than Minnesotans how they should spend their money and live their lives has lead to skyrocketing insurance premiums, more traffic congestion, stagnant wages, and Minnesota’s own swamp of cronyism and political favors.”
Johnson proceeds to lay out a series of conservative solutions for the state’s issues, as the liberal crowd gasps in shock. Eventually, the tuxedo-clad crowd fades out, and a more dressed-down crowd appears to cheer Johnson on as his address seamlessly shifts to addressing the “average Minnesotans.”
Incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton defeated Johnson 50-45 in 2014. Three third-party candidates split the remaining five percent.
Johnson is the third Republican candidate with prior experience in elected office to announce his candidacy. Seventh term Rep. Matt Dean (Dellwood) and Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman are the other two Republicans already in the race.