Walz reelected governor of Minnesota

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Minnesota voters have decided: Democratic incumbent Gov. Tim Walz will lead the state for another four years.

The Associated Press called the race at around 10:24 p.m. after Walz earned 57.6% of votes.

Walz and incumbent Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan ran on a platform of “One Minnesota,” discussing the unprecedented challenges Minnesotans have experienced the past few years and pushing the issue of abortion rights that Democrats nationwide have relied on.

Walz and Flanagan thanked Minnesotans and also Republican opponents Scott Jensen and Matt Birk.

“So tonight, we’ve chosen democracy, we’ve chosen to trust women, we’ve chosen to invest in our children, we’ve chosen to address climate change, and we’ve made it loud and clear, as long as this administration is in this office, this is a union state,” Walz said.

“I want to make sure that all of us, with heartfelt sincerity, thank Scott Jensen and Matt Birk for putting themselves out there to run, to put out their family into this arena and come to the democracy and now ask, let’s join together to solve Minnesota’s problems, so thank you for that,” Walz added.

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Jensen and former Minnesota Vikings player Matt Birk ran on a platform of “Heal Minnesota,” claiming Walz and company failed throughout those crises and promising to make changes in the areas of public safety, health care and economics.

Birk and Jensen spoke late Tuesday night, saying they’d continue to watch the results trickle in. They later spoke after midnight and Jensen confirmed he’d called Walz and congratulated him on being reelected.

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Two third-party candidates also ran: Steve Patterson from the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis party and James McCaskel from the Legal Marijuana Now party.

Find the profiles for these candidates and others here.

Before Walz, Democratic former Gov. Mark Dayton served two terms. Minnesota’s most recent Republican governor also served two terms from 2002-11. Those from other states often expect Minnesotans to “vote blue,” but like many states, there exists a stark divide between voting patterns in the Twin Cities metro and outstate rural areas.

Walz is expected to speak at 12 p.m. Wednesday in St. Paul. Check back for updates.

CLICK HERE FOR KSTP’S FULL ELECTIONS COVERAGE and tune into 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS to watch as other Minnesota and Wisconsin races are called in real time.