ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) —  Minnesota Democrats have endorsed state Rep. Erin Murphy to run for governor.

The longtime state representative from St. Paul and former nurse clinched the party's nod Saturday after top rival U.S. Rep. Tim Walz dropped out of the endorsement race. It took six rounds of voting to get the endorsement from more than 1,000 Democratic activists gathered in Rochester.

But Murphy's victory over U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and State Auditor Rebecca Otto may not be the final say. Walz has indicated he will run for the party's official nomination in an August primary. And third-term Attorney General Lori Swanson could enter the race late.

It's unclear who Democrats will face in November as they seek to hang on to the governor's office after Gov. Mark Dayton retires. GOP activists endorsed Jeff Johnson Saturday but he will face a primary challenge from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.


photo courtesy Jeff Johnson for Governor

Duluth, MN (AP) - Minnesota Republicans have endorsed Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson to run for governor.

Johnson came into Saturday's statewide GOP convention in Duluth heavily favored to take the endorsement. Rivals Mary Giuliani Stephens and Phillip Parrish dropped out of the race after three rounds of voting in which Johnson had a healthy lead.

GOP delegates then endorsed Johnson for a second run at governor. Johnson lost to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014.

But a bigger test looms ahead for Johnson in the Republican primary. Former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking to win his old job and opted to skip the weekend convention and head straight to an August primary. Johnson has spent the last several weeks pitching that he'd be a better choice than Pawlenty.