GOP endorses Jeff Johnson in Minnesota governor's race

Minnesota Republicans have endorsed Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson to run for governor. 

Johnson came into Saturday's statewide GOP convention in Duluth heavily favored to take the endorsement. Rivals Mary Giuliani Stephens and Phillip Parrish dropped out of the race after three rounds of voting in which Johnson had a healthy lead. 

GOP delegates then endorsed Johnson for a second run at governor. Johnson lost to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014. 

But a bigger test looms ahead for Johnson in the Republican primary. Former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking to win his old job and opted to skip the weekend convention and head straight to an August primary. Johnson has spent the last several weeks pitching that he'd be a better choice than Pawlenty. 

Democrats are meeting in Rochester to nominate their candidate for governor. Voting was still underway Saturday afternoon.