REGIONAL— This coming Tuesday’s (Aug. 14) primary election will offer voters the opportunity to weigh-in on several hotly-contested races for federal, state and county offices in Minnesota. Most …
REGIONAL— This coming Tuesday’s (Aug. 14) primary election will offer voters the opportunity to weigh-in on several hotly-contested races for federal, state and county offices in Minnesota. Most polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Minnesota’s same-day registration offers new voters the opportunity to register at their polling place at the same time.
The primary election will decide which candidates move on to the Nov. 6 general election. For party-affiliated races, the primary will determine the nominees for both major parties for several top contests, including the gubernatorial race, two U.S. Senate seats, the Eighth District congressional seat, and state attorney general.
The primary will also narrow the field in the race to succeed Tom Rukavina as St. Louis County Commissioner for the Fourth District. Six candidates are vying for that job, including Christine Schlotec, Daniel Manick, Mike Forsman Jr., Bernie Mettler, Paul McDonald and Paul Kess. The top two vote-getters in the non-partisan contest will advance to the general election.
Both Republicans and DFL voters will also make their picks for governor. With Gov. Mark Dayton opting for retirement this year, it’s an open seat and the party nominations are being hard-fought. On the DFL side, major candidates include the party-endorsee, Rep. Erin Murphy and her running mate Erin Maye-Quade, who are being challenged by First District Congressman Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan, and current Attorney General Lori Swanson and Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan.
On the GOP side, party-endorsee Jeff Johnson is facing a well-financed challenge from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty served two terms as governor, from 2003-2011.
Johnson previously received the GOP nomination for governor in 2014 before losing to Dayton.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, who replaced Sen. Al Franken in January, is facing an aggressive challenge for the party endorsement from University of Minnesota law professor and government ethicist Richard Painter.
For the first time in several years, the Eighth District will see a newcomer to the office, following Congressman Nolan’s decision to leave the House. The GOP will decide between former Duluth School Board trustee Harry Welty and former Duluth police officer and current St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber, who is considered the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nod. On the DFL side, five candidates are vying for the party nod after DFLers failed to make an endorsement at their Eighth District convention in April. Without a clear frontrunner, the outcome could well be a surprise. The candidates include Virginia-area state Rep. Jason Metsa, longtime KBJR anchorwoman Michelle Lee, North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy, former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, and Bemidji resident Soren Sorenson.
Both parties also face a competitive contest for attorney general. On the DFL side, Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison is among four candidates challenging party-endorsed Matt Pelikan. Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom, and Mike Rothman round out that field. On the GOP side, former state Sen. Bob Lessard is seeking the party nod against Sharon Anderson and Doug Wardlow.
DFL voters in House District 6B will also have a choice between DFL-endorsed Shaun Hainey, of Pike Township, and Aurora Mayor Dave Lislegard.
Voters can find a complete list of all primary races, along with polling locations and times by going to www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/ .