NORTH MANKATO — Clark Johnson received the DFL endorsement for the House District 19A special election, beating out three other candidates after three hours of speeches and voting.
The other three candidates all pledged to suspend their campaigns and support Johnson.
Still, all four names will appear on the ballot in a Jan. 29 DFL primary election. That’s because a glitch in the process prevents the other three from taking their names off the ballot.
And that primary election could be even a bit more confusing for DFL voters as there will be two candidates named Johnson on the ballot, both with fairly similar sounding first names.
“I was very genuine when I said I was proud to be among this group of candidates,” Johnson told the delegates following his victory.
“Let’s win this election to build a better future for Minnesota.”
The 67 delegates heard virtually no policy or philosophical differences between Johnson, Robin Courrier, Tim Strand and Karl Johnson. All supported making Highway 14 a four-lane, raising taxes on the wealthy and better funding for schools, among other issues.
A candidate needed 60 percent of the votes to win the endorsement. On the first ballot, Clark Johnson had 48 percent, Karl Johnson 34 percent, Courrier 15 percent and Strand 3 percent.
By the third ballot Strand and Courrier were dropped from the ballot when they failed to get enough votes to continue, leaving it a two-man race. On the third ballot Clark Johnson had 59.1 percent and Karl Johnson 40.9 percent. The fourth ballot put Clark Johnson over the top with 62 percent.
In his speech to delegates, Clark Johnson called for balancing the state budget without gimmicks. “No more borrowing from schools, no more piling onto property taxes.”
But, he said he wouldn’t be a wild spender if elected to the House. “I’m a frugal guy. I drive an older car, I bring my lunch to work. I understand the need to protect the public’s money.”