Jensen announces Birk as running mate in bid for GOP gubernatorial nomination

Former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk is officially running for Minnesota’s lieutenant governor alongside Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Scott Jensen, the pair announced Tuesday.

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Addressing a crowd of supporters at the Omni Viking Hotel near the Vikings’ training facility in Eagan, Jensen said his running mate “won’t flinch” from criticism. Birk brings star power and name recognition but also questions about his conservative views on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and COVID-19 policies.

In an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, both candidates said they think their campaign will appeal to many Minnesotans, and if they get the Republican endorsement, they plan to run separate campaigns.

“Seventy-five, 80% of the people I meet at his events are just like me,” Birk said. “They’ve never been to one of these before, but they’re there because one, they’re concerned about the state that they love, and number two is because of this guy and the courage and leadership he showed during the pandemic.”

Jensen and Birk said despite holding what some may call “extreme” views on some issues, they believe they can appeal to moderate voters, particularly on their vision for the state’s “business culture.”

Jensen also released a campaign video revealing Birk’s run for lieutenant governor that played on Gov. Tim Walz’s past use of football imagery in his speeches.

“We’re going to need a teammate who can hit back,” Jensen says before a football player dressed in red and wearing No. 22 plows through opponents in blue with names like “Mask Mandate” and “School Shutdowns” on the backs of their jerseys.

They face a crowded field for the Republican nomination; so far seven other candidates have announced campaigns for governor.