Updated: 06/01/2014 4:00 PM
Created: 05/31/2014 1:32 PM KSTP.com
Minnesota Republicans have endorsed investment banker Mike McFadden for U.S. Senate. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has secured the endorsement of state Republican convention delegates in his bid for Minnesota governor.
McFadden is likely spared a primary fight, offering him a clearer path to a November challenge to Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
Saturday's outcome came as somewhat of a surprise because McFadden didn't agree to abide by the convention's decision heading in. That is usually a deal-breaker for delegates.
McFadden stressed his ability to raise the millions needed to wage an effective campaign. He says his experience in the business sector would provide a clear contrast with Franken.
McFadden overtook St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg for the win after 10 ballots.
So far, Minnesota's race isn't among the nation's most competitive in the fight for Senate control, but Republicans hope McFadden puts it on the map.
Johnson notched the win Saturday on the fourth ballot. He outlasted state Sen. Dave Thompson and former state Rep. Marty Seifert. Thompson withdrew following a third ballot and threw his backing to Johnson. Seifert said he was headed to a primary regardless of the result.
Republicans won't know their nominee until August because two other contenders also bypassed the convention for the primary. They are businessman Scott Honour and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers.
The party's goal is to unseat first-term Gov. Mark Dayton. He was endorsed by Democrats for another four years at a state convention in Duluth on Saturday.
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