ST. PAUL, Minn. – Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson claimed victory in the corn poll conducted by the Republican Party of Minnesota at the Minnesota State Fair.
On the last day of the fair, the Republican Party’s gubernatorial candidates gathered in the party’s fair booth for another gubernatorial forum. At the forum, candidates were seated from left to right on stage based on their performance. Only the candidates relative rankings were released this year by the MNGOP, unlike in previous years when the total corn numbers were also released.
Johnson finished first, followed by State Rep. Matt Dean, former MNGOP Chair Keith Downey, State Sen. Dave Osmek, former Naval intelligence officer Phillip Parrish, St. Cloud resident Christopher Chamberlin, and Redwood Falls resident Jeffrey Wharton finished last in the corn poll.
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman was also scheduled to participate in the forum, but he told Alpha News Sunday that he had decided to drop out of the gubernatorial race. He had made that decision earlier, announcing it to Republican Party officials via an email on Friday.
The MNGOP’s presidential straw poll in 2015 correctly predicted that now-President Donald Trump would win the nationwide Republican Party’s nomination for president. In Minnesota itself however, Florida Senator Marco Rubio won the state’s caucus night, taking 36.2 percent of the vote and 17 delegates, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz took 29 percent and 13 delegates, Trump took 21.4 percent and eight delegates.
Johnson told the Pioneer Press that while he was pleased by the results, the corn poll is not a definitive reflection of the race.
“I say I’m starting at the 40-yard line, rather than the 20-yard line, and I think that should be a consideration for Republicans,” Johnson told the Pioneer Press. “Does it change the world? No. It’s a corn poll. But it’s indicative of what people think about the candidates and what they know about the candidates.”
The corn poll is very non-scientific. Participants were given a small paper cup of corn and were able to vote for as many candidates with that corn as the pleased.