Walz: No plan to change running mates in 2022

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan haven't decided whether to run for re-election in 2022, but he assumes they'll run together.

All signs point to Walz running for a second term, though it hasn't been clear what he and Flanagan would decide. Earlier this year, Flanagan was rumored for jobs in President Joe Biden's administration.

"It’s been a strong ticket. We’ve been highly effective. It would be my assumption that that’s what we’ll do if we make that decision. But we’ve not made that decision," Walz said Friday during a visit to a Dakota County farm. An aide to Flanagan later said the lieutenant governor echoed Walz's comments.

Minnesota's lieutenant governors have few official powers, and some have opted to retire or pursue higher office instead of running for a second four-year term.

Former governors Arne Carlson and Mark Dayton both had to pick new running mates for their re-election campaigns. Carlson's first lieutenant governor, Joanell Dyrstad, ran for the U.S. Senate, while Dayton's first running mate, Yvonne Prettner Solon, retired after expressing frustrations with the lack of duties in the office.

While Walz and Flanagan haven't announced their 2022 plans, several Republicans are already in the GOP primary. They include former state Sen. Scott Jensen, and currently Sens. Michelle Benson and Paul Gazelka.

Walz and Flanagan won by double digits in 2018 on the slogan "One Minnesota." The two frequently highlighted their own unique backgrounds as emblematic of the platform.

But the political landscape has changed dramatically since that 2018 election. Walz became the face of Minnesota's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 civil unrest.

Walz's approval rating sank to 49 percent in this month's Minnesota Poll, which is sponsored by several local news outlets. That's an 8-point drop from a poll conducted last year.

The DFL ticket will have history on its side: no Republican has won a statewide election in Minnesota since former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2006.