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The Latest: Johnson gets boost with strong GOP caucus finish

February 7, 2018

FILE - In This July 19, 2017, file photo, Jennifer Carnahan, chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party, poses for a photo in St. Louis Park, Minn. Minnesota voters will provide a critical early readout on the state's wide-open governor's race during precinct caucuses Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, that are expected to be heavily attended by members of both parties. "For the first time in many years, we truly are going to be at the forefront of national politics in this election cycle in 2018," Carnahan said. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on Minnesota’s precinct caucuses (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson is the clear winner of a preference poll of Republican candidates for governor.

The 2014 GOP nominee’s campaign got a boost from Tuesday’s caucus voting. Johnson won more than 45 percent of the vote in the caucus straw poll, according to unofficial results tallied by the Republican Party.

But the results of those polls are rarely indicative of who will win the nomination. And a large share of undecided voters show many GOP voters are still waiting.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a complicating factor in the race. The two-term governor is weighing a third run for the office.

Former GOP Party chair Keith Downey came in second among declared candidates with 15 percent of the vote.

7:30 p.m.

Minnesota’s precinct caucuses are getting rolling for the 2018 election cycle.

Caucuses for both parties kicked off statewide at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The main event was a scheduled preference poll in the governor’s race that will gauge each candidates’ support.

More than 100 Democratic voters crowded into a small auditorium at south Minneapolis community school to cast ballots and begin the process of electing delegates for statewide conventions in June.

Results of the straw poll weren’t expected until later Tuesday night or early Wednesday. But history shows those poll results are rarely indicative of who will win each party’s nomination.

Party chairs hoped high energy surrounding Minnesota politics would power high turnout in Tuesday’s caucus.

6 a.m.

Minnesota voters will provide a critical early readout on the state’s wide-open governor’s race during precinct caucuses.

The caucuses Tuesday are expected to be heavily attended by members of both parties. They mark the first step in the march toward each party’s nominating convention in June, with the main event a preference poll testing support for all gubernatorial candidates.

History shows that poll is rarely indicative of who will win each party’s nomination.

Party chairs are hoping high energy surrounding the state’s politics powers high turnout in a year that will also see a special election for former Sen. Al Franken’s seat and four or more closely watched congressional races.

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