ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The matchup between incumbent DFL Gov. Tim Walz and Republican Dr. Scott Jensen officially kicked off this week, after both candidates easily won their respective primaries without competitive challengers.
Now Walz and Jensen will making their case to voters in the final months before November's election in what polls suggest is a close race. Public safety is already taking center stage.
Walz on Thursdayto the Twin Cities to stem violence and stop , saying the uptick in crime is "simply unacceptable."
"Minnesotans have every right to be angry and upset about a rising crime, and they should have every expectation that a clear plan and an execution plan is happening," Walz said.
Jensen was quick to criticize Walz for the news conference, blaming Walz for not doing enough to respond to the violence, which has increased in the last two years. Jensen said public safety is the key issue defining this race, and his policy proposals include creating stiffer penalties for carjacking crimes and mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes.
"At some level the buck has to stop somewhere, and I would submit that when the entire state of Minnesota is at risk, and there's a poison of lawlessness that's expanded across the state, the buck stops at the governor's desk," Jensen said.
Walz has pushed back on his challenger's criticisms, and said the state patrol presence in Minneapolis will remain as long as needed.
He blamed the legislature for not passing a public safety funding package before session adjourned. The governor had pitched increasing funding to local governments so they could use the resources for public safety measures.
"I think Minnesotans aren't really interested in hearing about the politics of that," Walz said Thursday. "These [law enforcement officers] back here are not political—they don't give a damn who's standing in this spot unless that person is there making sure that they have the resources and the mission necessary to reduce crime."
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