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Dean wins GOP straw poll for Minnesota governor

Matt Dean, a former Minnesota House of Representatives majority leader, won the straw poll for preferred Republican Party governor candidate among Minnesota Republican State Central Committee delegates Saturday, Dec. 2. (Zach Kayser / Forum News Service)

EAST GULL LAKE—Matt Dean won the Minnesota governor straw poll among a gathering of Republicans Saturday, Dec. 2.

A "straw poll" in politics refers to a poll taken among the attendees to a particular event. In this case, it was the delegates to the Minnesota Republican Party's State Central Committee, who attended a gathering at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake. More than 300 of them voted on who they preferred for governor.

Dean, the former Minnesota House of Representatives majority leader, said in remarks prior to the vote he would abide by the endorsement. This essentially meant Dean was promising to drop out if party officials did not pick him at their state convention next summer.

"I am going to outwork everybody else to earn your support in June, but if I don't get it, I'll support whoever does, because I am a party Republican," he said.

Dean said he didn't shy away from his support of Donald Trump in 2016, even though Dean himself was up for re-election for the House.

He pledged to get rid of MNsure "forever," and also referenced recent Black Lives Matter protests in the Twin Cities. He would strengthen laws to ensure such protesters were jailed.

"Cops can't wait for a governor to have their back again," he said. "If you're on the freeway, if you shut down the Capitol, if you shut down the Mall of America, you are going to jail."

Dean decried so-called "sanctuary cities" and said no refugees should be resettled in Minnesota until "the safety and security of our state" could be guaranteed.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson ran just behind Dean, with 79 votes to Dean's 92. Former Minnesota GOP Chair Keith Downey came in third with 50 votes, Woodbury mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens was fourth with 26, and legislator Dave Osmek got fifth with 20. Rounding out the field were "Undecided" with 15 votes, Phillip Parrish with 11, "Other" with 9, and Lance Johnson with 1.