Walz and Jensen square off in last Minnesota gubernatorial debate

Governor Tim Walz and Scott Jensen participate in final MN gubernatorial debate of the campaign.
Governor Tim Walz and Scott Jensen participate in final MN gubernatorial debate of the campaign.(Northern News Now)
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (Northern News Now) - The two candidates running for Minnesota governor participated in the campaign’s last debate of this election cycle.

The debate, hosted by Minnesota Public Radio, featured current incumbent Governor Tim Walz (DFL) and his challenger Dr. Scott Jensen (R).

The two began with opening statements where they laid out their vision for the future of the state.

This is the third debate among the candidates.

The first was held in Rochester including panelists from Northern News Now and partner stations across the state.

The second debate, in which Jensen was the only one present, was hosted by KSTP.

Walz called Jensen’s vision “dark and fearful.” Jensen contrasted Walz by claiming the governor has mismanaged state funds, more specifically in education.

The debate covered three main topics: the economy, education, and crime and safety in Minnesota.

Jensen criticized Walz’s handling of state education funds and pointed to slumping test scores nationwide.

“If we’re spending $13,500 per student, and other states that outperform us are spending 33% less than that, then we have to ask ourselves, ‘Are we doing a good job?’” Jensen said.

Walz fired back at Jensen and said sliding test scores are not just a problem in Minnesota, but worldwide.

“We need to do better,” Walz said. “That’s why we invest the money last year; we made sure that we had programs that were seeing a 200-300% increase in students doing summer programming, making sure that we were bringing in the support we need.”

The two sparred over the Feed Our Future fraud case that found $250 million was taken from the state and is the largest COVID-19 fraud case in the country to date.

Walz said Jensen and Republicans are not offering solutions to issues.

“We’re investing in the things that we need to make Minnesota grow,” Walz said. “We know we can always do better, we can always get results, but what you’re hearing is a litany of issues without real solutions.”

Jensen hit back at Walz and said he has mismanaged the state budget.

“You could literally every household have a thousand dollars more in your pocket if during Tim Walz’s watch we hadn’t had such rampant waste, fraud, abuse, and cost overruns,” he said.

Election Day is November 8.