The Potluck

Scott Jensen admits he misjudged Minnesotans’ priorities in run for governor

By: - November 14, 2022 2:57 pm

Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen smiles at children attending his rally at the Capitol on Friday, Nov. 4. Photo by Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer.

Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen lost to Gov. Tim Walz by nearly 200,000 votes on Election Day, and over the weekend he confessed he mistakenly downplayed the importance of abortion among Minnesotans.

Jensen waffled on the issue during the campaign, initially saying in an interview that he wanted to ban abortion in Minnesota with no exceptions. Later, he emphatically asserted that “abortion was not on the ballot.” In a Facebook live video on Saturday, Jensen admitted that his campaign strategy of hammering increasing crime rates, rising inflation and failing education in Minnesota was in vain.

“This election cycle was not about inflation and crime and education, not at the end of the day,” Jensen said. “This election was, for many, about … an intrusion into a person’s autonomy.”

He said in his recent Facebook post that he’s a “pro-life physician” but the U.S. doesn’t do enough for pregnant women and new mothers. Jensen said the U.S. should make birth control pills available over the counter, clear the way for so-called morning after pills in every medicine cabinet and enact paid maternity leave.

Throughout his campaign, Jensen hammered rising crime in the Twin Cities, which may have helped secure big margins in greater Minnesota, but did not seem to help him in the Twin Cities or the suburbs, where he lost badly. 

In his Facebook live video, Jensen said he “had no intention of running for anything in the future.”

The 20-minute video had more than 3,600 comments as of Monday afternoon. Many of them expressed support for Jensen and dismay at his loss. Among them was election denier and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who claimed Jensen lost because of faulty voting machines.

“The voting machines have to go or we will lose everything! Your race was stole! (sic) What a shame that you and others don’t speak out about the computers and voting machines!” Lindell wrote.

Jensen has not alleged voting fraud in his race since his Election Day loss.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues. For two years she was also a corps member with Report for America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms and news deserts. She lives in St. Paul and likes to knit and watch documentaries in her free time.

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