All in all, primary election night was a good one for endorsed candidates and incumbents. That result was no doubt driven in part by the very low voter turnout. Secretary of State Ritchie predicted a 10 to 15 percent voter turnout but early results indicated a 5 to 6 percent turnout, the lowest in memory for a statewide Minnesota election. The GOP will hold a unity news conference at 9 am today; the DFL will have their press conference at 10 am.
U.S. Senate Race
Businessman Mike McFadden won handily with 71 percent over his challengers for the right to face incumbent Senator Al Franken. McFadden’s top primary challenger was state Rep. Jim Abeler. McFadden confidently predicted that he would be able to raise the financial resources necessary to overcome Franken’s lead in that area.
GOP endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson won with 30 percent of the vote. Kurt Zellers finished in second place with 23 percent, followed by Marty Seifert at 21 percent and Scott Honour at 20 percent. All the candidates congratulated Johnson and announced their support for his campaign. Governor Mark Dayton called Johnson last night to congratulate him on his victory.
In the First District Jim Hagedorn won with 54 percent over Aaron Miller to face incumbent DFL Congressman Tim Walz in November. Miller had been the endorsed candidate but the Hagedorn name is well known in the district since his father had represented the area in Congress.
In the Sixth District, GOP endorsed candidate Tom Emmer captured the nomination with 73 percent of the vote over Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah in the race for the right to succeed Michele Bachmann in Congress.
In the Fourth District, DFL attorney Mike Obermueller won his primary comfortably and will face Congressman John Kline for the second time.
Incumbent DFL endorsed candidate Rebecca Otto had no problems fighting off a challenge from former state Rep. Matt Entenza. She won with 81 percent of the vote. Entenza had spent over $500,000 of his own money in an attempt to capture the nomination.
Secretary of State
DFL endorsed Steve Simon beat out the competition with 43 percent of the vote over perennial candidate Dick Franson who captured 29 percent and Gregg Iverson with 28 percent. Current Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is retiring. Simon will face former Republican legislator Dan Severson.
DFL House Races
5A Walker/Bemidji – Incumbent John Persell received 84 percent of the vote over challenger Lavern Pederson with 15 percent.
6A Chisholm/Hibbing – Incumbent Carly Melin walked away with 80 percent over John Finken with 20 percent.
60B Minneapolis – 21 term incumbent Phyllis Kahn beat challenger Mohamud Noor by close to 400 votes with a 54/46 percent split.
63B Minneapolis – 14 term incumbent Jean Wagenius handily bet challenger Roger Kittelson 91 to 19 percent.
44B Minnetonka Open Seat – Jon Applebaum narrowly defeated Tony Wagner (who was endorsed by outgoing Rep. John Benson) by less than 40 votes. Jon Tollefson came in third with 26 percent of the vote.
GOP House Races
7B Duluth - Travis Silvers edged past Carla Bayerl with 57 percent of the vote.
12A Elbow Lake/Morris/Starbuck – Jeff Backer won by 10 percentage points over Nancy Taffe.
30B Albertville/Otsego/St. Michael – Eric Lucero won with 64 percent over Kevin Kasel in the open David Fitzsimmons seat.
35A Anoka/Ramsey – Abigail Whelan captured 80 percent over Justin Boals in the open Jim Abeler seat.
47A Mayer/Waconia/Carver – Jim Nash defeated Bob Frey with 59 percent of the vote in the open Ernie Leidiger seat.
48B Eden Prairie – Third term incumbent Rep. Jen Loon won over Sheila Kihne 60 to 40 percent.
51A Eagan – Andrea Todd-Harlin beat challenger Victor Lake by close to 200 votes on a 56/44 percent split.