Gubernatorial candidates Walz and Johnson face off in debate

Election Day is just over two months away and Friday night, the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor went head to head in a televised debate.

Republican Jeff Johnson and Democrat Tim Walz covered many topics, beginning with the controversy surrounding Keith Ellison, who is running for attorney general. Both candidates agree they want to get to the bottom of the accusations before any decisions are made on how to handle the issue. 

Throughout the debate, however, there were plenty of topics they did disagree on.


Johnson: Having surplus after surplus after surplus is not a sign of good government. It’s a sign of taking too much money from people and what we’ve been doing - frankly both parties to a certain extent – is we’ve been taking these surpluses where more is coming in than what we decided we needed and then putting it on the bottom line to add to the spending. We’ve seen a 53 or 54 percent increase in state spending in eight years.

Walz: Keeping that rainy day fund, keeping that reserve in place, making sure we’re making the investments – I have not shied away from it at all. Transportation and infrastructure are critically important. I’ve said yes I’m willing to look at the gas tax. I think that is the surest way to ensure dedicated funding goes to our transportation system as needed.


Johnson: We do have to look very seriously at rolling back some of the coverage mandates that we have. They’re good politics, but if somebody believes that a limited coverage policy works best for him or her – I don’t know why I as governor I get to say I know better, you can’t do that.

Walz: This issue that we’re going to allow younger, healthier people to buy things that aren’t there. We’ve seen that if we have uncovered people prior to the ACA, it costs about $1,800 in premium that’s shared with the rest of us. It makes great sense to make sure everyone gets covered, that we start focusing and get out of this conversation on insurance reform and start talking about really preventative care, front-end coverage and having real solid conversations about how do you reduce cost on the front end.

2nd amendment

Johnson: When Tim was running in southern Minnesota, he touted his A rating from the NRA and then when he decided he needed to get endorsed and win a primary, he touted his F rating and wore that as a badge of honor.

Walz: If the NRA is not even willing to do something that even 87 percent of Americans want – criminal background checks – you ask for some common sense things: criminal background checks, red flag legislation, bump stock bans. 
Moderator: Assault weapon ban?
Walz: Certainly agree with. Certainly look at that.