Allen Quist (R) - Staunchly conservative former State Representative, Quist won the endorsement of the Republican Party over incumbent Carlson, who was seen as too liberal. Ran with Hamline University professor Doug McFarland. Lost in the primary election.
While incumbent Gov. Arne Carlson was popular in the state, he was not popular with rank-and-file Republicans, who viewed his victory in 1990 as an accident. Carlson, who was pro-choice and in favor of extending civil rights to homosexuals, was seen as too moderate by delegates to the GOP state convention, who ultimately chose former State Rep. Allen Quist, a staunch conservative, as their nominee. Ultimately, though, Carlson easily defeated Quist in the state primary, putting him on the ballot for November.
At the DFL convention, Marty received the party endorsement, but faced a strong challenge from former Minneapolis Chief of Police Tony Bouza. Bouza faded, however, when it was revealed that he supported severe restrictions on handguns. Marty ultimately won a narrow victory in the primary over former Commerce Commissioner Mike Hatch, who lost his second consecutive gubernatorial primary.
After the primary, the general election was anticlimactic. With Carlson generally liked by most Minnesotans and with a national Republican wave cresting, he easily won victory over Marty, who ran a steadfast, positive, and ultimately futile campaign. Marty lost by over 400,000 votes out of 1.7 million cast, a historic landslide defeat.