"One final thing before I close. I have never, ever, seen enthusiasm like I have seen in this race for Jeff Johnson. It is truly off the charts high. People sense that Jeff is the change agent Minnesota needs, and they are ever so ready for him."
Almost two years ago, right before Thanksgiving, I received a email from Jeff Johnson. Even though I was on Jeff's campaign team in 2014, I had not had a lot of contact with him since. We did reconnect up in Duluth for the 2016 convention, and it was great to see him again. But this email had nothing to do with the 2014 or the 2016 conventions. He wanted to get together, have coffee, and chat. So we met at the Marriott in Brooklyn Center some time in mid November.
We had a nice chat about families, life, and stuff we were doing. Then we got down to the real reason he wanted to have coffee. He was considering a run in 2018 for Governor. Currently, he was talking to different people to get their opinion on that idea. First off - I was honored he chose me as one of the people to ask. Then I gave him the unvarnished truth. DO IT!!! I was way excited that Jeff had decided to try it again! He was in 2014 the most qualified person I had ever met to be Governor. In 2018, he would be all that and even more so.
After coffee when we parted, Jeff told me he was going to talk to a few more folks before he made up his mind. Once he did, he would let me know, one way or the other. I told him if it was a "yes", I was on board - all the way. He said he would be glad to have me with him again.
In February of 2017, my wife and I were in Florida, trying to escape at least part of the Minnesota winter. That is when I received the email from Jeff. He was in! And because he was in, so was I!
To make a long story short, this campaign has been by far and away the best I have ever worked on. Work? Sure. Money? Part of it. But the enthusiasm I have seen for Jeff leading up to the convention, then during the convention, and now post convention - is over the top amazing!
After the 2014 run, Jeff learned from it. He learned what went wrong and why. One of the big things he found out, was not having enough name recognition, especially out state. Some experts thought if the campaign had gone on another two weeks, Jeff could have closed that gap.
So this time around, Jeff has been even more of a road warrior. He has met voters at the fairs, the parades, town halls, eateries, street corners, you name it. He has racked up hundreds upon hundreds of miles, criss-crossing Minnesota.
Jeff had nowhere near the money his final competitor had. His message to the troops - "We can sit around and bitch about this primary - or we can just go win it!" And that has been the path. Mile by mile, handshake by handshake, dollar by dollar, vote by vote. This is how you spell "grassroots" in Minnesota. The race in the final lap turned into big donor money against grassroots support.
Tuesday is the day. All the work, all the money, all the miles, come to a conclusion on Tuesday. Even though almost 200,000 have voted early or via absentee, there will still be a lot of folks voting on Tuesday.
My expectation is Jeff's race will go on until November, and then he will be getting his transition team ready to move into the Governor's mansion. However - I am also a realist. Should things go south for Jeff on Tuesday, and this long, long quest comes to an end, I will be disappointed to say the least. But more than disappointed, I will be honored. Working this campaign has been one of the best experiences of my life.
One final thing before I close. I have never, ever, seen enthusiasm like I have seen in this race for Jeff Johnson. It is truly off the charts high. People sense that Jeff is the change agent Minnesota needs, and they are ever so ready for him. However, if things do not go Jeff's way on Tuesday, it is not Jeff who will lose. It will be the rest of us. The ones who hoped for a better Minnesota.
If you have not yet voted, please vote for a much better Minnesota for all of us. Vote for Jeff Johnson.