Democratic Rep. Walz Elected Minnesota Governor

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) has won the gubernatorial election. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) has won the gubernatorial election. |  Photo: U.S. House of Representatives

Updated: November 06, 2018 10:31 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Rep. Tim Walz has won Minnesota's open race for governor, keeping Democrats' hold on the state's top office.

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Walz defeated second-time Republican candidate Jeff Johnson. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton chose not to run for a third term.

Governor-elect Walz says his election as Minnesota's governor and high voter turnout is proof that the state's "can-do spirit" is alive and well.

Walz was ahead in public polling throughout the race, but his victory was still unusual. It marks the first time one of Minnesota's political parties has held on to the office for three or more terms since the 1950s.

Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner who ran against Dayton in 2014, struggled to gain ground against Walz after surpassing former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the August primary.

Walz campaigned on expanding the state's low-income health care program to have a public option and increasing education funding. He said his victory was a sign that Minnesota residents want to see those policies enacted. He spent six terms representing a Republican-leaning congressional district in southern Minnesota.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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