Minnesota election results: Walz re-elected governor

Gov. Tim Walz has defeated Scott Jensen in the race for Minnesota governor, earning a second term leading the state.

Jensen on Tuesday night told FOX 9's Paul Blume he will not concede – he wants all votes counted. But then after midnight Wednesday, Jensen's campaign took the stage and conceded. 

"Tim Walz is the governor for four more years," Jensen said during his concession speech. "Republicans, quite frankly, we didn't have a red wave. It was a blue wave."

Most polls over the last year showed Walz with a significant advantage over Republican challenger Scott Jensen, even as, nationwide, many Democrats in the midterm elections were facing struggling poll numbers amid economic issues and public safety concerns – both of which were targets in ad campaigns in Minnesota.

Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan easily won their 2018 race by an 11-point margin. Jensen, who was joined by former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk as running mate in his campaign, quickly became the favorite to win the Republican nomination as he gained a national following from skepticism over COVID-19 vaccines and opposition to mask mandates – along with other debunked thinking.

Jensen’s controversial opinions proved a negative on the campaign trail as Walz and attack ads painted Jensen as an extremist. On the other side, Jensen’s campaign put a focus on Walz’s record on public safety, spiking crime rates during the pandemic, and his response to the 2020 unrest.

Ads from the Freedom Club, which created the "Walz Failed" signs seen at the Minnesota State Fair, ran an ad blaming Walz for the spike in carjackings in the metro. Carjackings surged in 2020 and 2021, particularly in Minneapolis.

The Republican Governors Association also ran ads claiming Walz supported efforts to defund the police – a claim that a FOX 9 Fact Check found to be false.

RELATED: Walz-Jensen debate: Minnesota gubernatorial candidates in their own words

 In his own set of ads, Walz defended his records in a set of ads, pointing towards efforts by Walz to increase public safety spending during the 2022 legislative session and efforts to crack down on illegal guns.

In the weeks leading up to the election, both Walz and Jensen got some key endorsements. First, on October 26, former President Donald Trump put out a message on his social media platform backing Jensen. Jensen spent much of his campaign trying to put some separation between himself and the former president. 

In response, Jensen was lukewarm about the endorsement, putting out a statement saying he hasn’t sought the endorsement of any politician.

"While we have not actively sought the endorsement of political leaders, we are grateful for those who have recognized our ability to lead and Heal Minnesota," Jensen’s statement read.

The next day, Walz got the backing of former governor Jesse Ventura. Walz gladly accepted the endorsement despite Ventura’s conspiratorial thinking. 

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