Governor State Executive Office

Elections: 1857-present. Elections for Governor (and most constitutional offices) were held for two-year terms in odd-numbered years beginning in 1857. A constitutional amendment was passed in 1883 requiring state elections to be held in even-numbered years beginning in 1886 with the winners of state offices in 1883 serving three-year terms. From 1886 through 1960, gubernatorial terms remained two years - increasing to four years in 1962. Beginning in 1974, the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor were elected jointly on a single ticket. State primaries for Governor were first held in September 1912. There have never been term limits for the office in Minnesota history.

Most recent elections

Date Office Stage Winners Details
11/06/2018 Governor General Tim Walz (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) won with 1,393,096 votes (53.84%) and a winning margin of +11.42
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
Tim Walz with Peggy Flanagan Man Democratic-Farmer-Labor 1,393,096 53.84
Jeff Johnson with Donna Bergstrom Man Republican 1,097,705 42.43
Chris Wright with Judith Schwartzbacker Man Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis 68,667 2.65
Josh Welter with Mary O'Connor Man Libertarian 26,735 1.03
Scattering Write-In 1,075 0.04
Jeremiah Liend with Keith Johnson Man Write-In 3 0.00
Dennis S. Ferche with Tim Scheel Man Write-In 2 0.00
Ole Savior with Chris Edman Man Write-In 2 0.00
Ralph Allen Gilbertsen with Tim Eason Man Write-In 1 0.00
Brian Long with Sarah Baalson Man Write-In 1 0.00

Walz was a U.S. Representative (CD 01, 2007-2019) from Mankato; Flanagan was a nonprofit executive from St. Louis Park and state Representative (HD 46A, 2015-2019).

Johnson was an attorney from Plymouth, former state Representative (HD 34B, 2001-2003; HD 43A, 2003-2007), Hennepin County Commissioner (2009-present), and 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee; Bergstrom was a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel from Duluth.

Wright was a computer technician from Edina, co-founder of the Grassroots Party in 1986, Grassroots U.S. House nominee for the 5th CD in 1988, and Grassroots gubernatorial nominee in 1998, 2010, and 2014; Schwartzbacker was a resident of Minneapolis and the Grassroots nominee for state Auditor in 2014 and Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis nominee for the 8th CD in 2020.

Welter was a resident of Savage and worked for an industrial equipment manufacturer; O'Connor was a resident of Brooklyn Center, the state Libertarian Party Treasurer, a former member of the Brooklyn Center City Council, and the Libertarian nominee for Attorney General in 2014.

See more details »
08/14/2018 Governor Primary Tim Walz (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) won with 242,832 votes (41.60%) and a winning margin of +9.57
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
Tim Walz with Peggy Flanagan Man Democratic-Farmer-Labor 242,832 41.60
Erin Murphy with Erin Maye Quade Woman Democratic-Farmer-Labor 186,969 32.03
Lori Swanson with Richard M. (Rick) Nolan Woman Democratic-Farmer-Labor 143,517 24.59
Tim Holden with James Mellin Man Democratic-Farmer-Labor 6,398 1.10
Ole Savior with Chris Edman Man Democratic-Farmer-Labor 4,019 0.69

Walz was a U.S. Representative (CD 01, 2007-2019) from Mankato; Flanagan was a nonprofit executive from St. Louis Park and state Representative (HD 46A, 2015-2019).

Murphy, a nurse from St. Paul, was the DFL-endorsed candidate and state Representative (HD 64A, 2007-2019); Maye-Quade was a community representative from Apple Valley and state Representative (HD 57A, 2017-2019). The Murphy/Maye-Quade ticket was the first all-woman gubernatorial ticket in DFL history.

Swanson an attorney from Eagan, former Minnesota Solicitor General (2003-2007), Deputy Attorney General (1999-2003), and sitting Attorney General (2007-2019); Nolan was a former state Representative (HD 53A, 1969-1973) and sitting U.S. Representative (CD 06, 1975-1981; CD 08, 2013-2019) from Crosby.

Holden was a contractor and real estate investor from St. Paul and candidate for St. Paul Mayor in 2013 and 2017; Mellin was a chiropractor in Edina.

Savior was an artist and perennial candidate from Minneapolis and DFL gubernatorial candidate in 1998, 2002, and 2006, Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2010, and Republican U.S. Senate candidate in 2014.

See more details »
08/14/2018 Governor Primary Jeff Johnson (Republican) won with 168,841 votes (52.61%) and a winning margin of +8.76
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
Jeff Johnson with Donna Bergstrom Man Republican 168,841 52.61
Tim Pawlenty with Michelle L. Fischbach Man Republican 140,743 43.86
Mathew (Matt) Kruse with Theresa Loeffler Man Republican 11,330 3.53

Johnson was an attorney from Plymouth, former state Representative (HD 34B, 2001-2003; HD 43A, 2003-2007), Hennepin County Commissioner (2009-present), and 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee; Bergstrom was a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel from Duluth.

Pawlenty was an attorney from Eagan, former Eagan City Councilman (1991-1992), state Representative (HD 38B, 1993-2003), Governor (2003-2011), and GOP presidential candidate in 2012; Fischbach was a state Senator (SD 14, 1996-2013; SD 13, 2013-2019) and sitting Lieutenant Governor (2018-2019) from Paynesville.

Kruse was a retired mail carrier from Mankato and 23rd SD Independence party nominee in 2002 and GOP candidate in 2006.

See more details »
11/04/2014 Governor General Mark Dayton (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) won with 989,113 votes (50.07%) and a winning margin of +5.56
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
Mark Dayton Incumbent with Tina Smith Man Democratic-Farmer-Labor 989,113 50.07
Jeff Johnson with William (Bill) Kuisle Man Republican 879,257 44.51
Hannah Nicollet with Tim Gieseke Woman Independence 56,900 2.88
Chris Wright with David Daniels Man Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis 31,259 1.58
Chris Holbrook with Chris Dock Man Libertarian 18,082 0.92
Scattering Write-In 795 0.04

Governor Dayton was reelected with a new running mate; Smith was the Chief of Staff to Governor Dayton and Chief of staff to former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate on January 2, 2018 following the resignation of DFLer Al Franken; state Senate President Michelle Fischbach ascended to the position of Lieutenant Governor and was sworn in on May 25, 2018.

Johnson was an attorney from Plymouth, former state Representative (HD 34B, 2001-2003; HD 43A, 2003-2007), and Hennepin County Commissioner (2009-present); Kuisle was a farmer from Rochester, former Olmsted County Commissioner (1991-1997), and former state Representative (HD 31A, 1997-2003; HD 30B, 2003-2005).

Nicollet was a former software developer from Roseville; Gieske worked in agriculture & conservation policy development.

Wright was a computer technician from Edina, co-founder of the Grassroots Party in 1986, Grassroots U.S. House nominee for the 5th CD in 1988, and Grassroots gubernatorial nominee in 1998 and 2010; Daniels was a playwright and Grassroots U.S. Senate nominee in 2000.

Holbrook was a resident of St. Paul; Dock worked in human resources and technology and was a resident of Minnetonka.

See more details »
08/12/2014 Governor Primary Hannah Nicollet (Independence) won with 5,822 votes (100.00%) and a winning margin of +100.00
Candidate Gender Party Votes Percent
Hannah Nicollet with Tim Gieseke Woman Independence 5,822 100.00

Nicollet was a former software developer from Roseville; Gieske worked in agriculture & conservation policy development.

See more details »