Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pawlenty endorses Johnson for AG

Pawlenty’s name added to already impressive list of Johnson supporters.

GOP attorney general hopeful gets Pawlenty’s nod
Conrad deFiebre

State Rep. Jeff Johnson of Plymouth, the only announced Republican candidate for state attorney general next year, added Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday to his long list of GOP endorsers.

"Jeff Johnson will make an excellent attorney general," Pawlenty said in a news release issued by Johnson's campaign. "I worked closely with Jeff in the House and have seen the quality of his work and his character. I know the attorney general's office under his leadership will be focused on the protection and betterment of Minnesotans, not on politics."

With DFLer Mike Hatch, state attorney general since 1999, poised to launch a campaign for governor, the GOP may have its best chance in decades of capturing Minnesota's top legal post. Douglas Head in 1966 was the last Republican to win the job.

Head, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1970 and then retired from statewide elective politics, is one of more than 100 Republicans the Johnson campaign lists as supporters.

They include 90 legislators, four former GOP state chairs, Republican National Committee members Brian Sullivan and Evie Axdahl, U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, former Gov. Al Quie and the last three Republican-endorsed candidates for attorney general.The focus of such party unity more than a year before the 2006 election is a 38-year-old lawyer and three-term legislator who grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Johnson practices law with the firm of Wessels & Pautsch and is president of his own company, Midwest Employment Resources, which provides employment law and human resources services to businesses. According to Politics in Minnesota: The Directory, he and his wife, Sondi, both teach Sunday school and lead a Christian family group at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley.

While Johnson began his campaign on Feb. 15, no DFLer has entered the race for
attorney general yet. House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, is considered the party's most likely candidate to succeed Hatch.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 20, 2005)

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