Snapshot of 2018 Minnesota Political Races

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
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Winthrop & Weinstine's Government Relations Manager Pamela Gokemeijer has complied a snapshot of each political race going to the polls on November 6, 2018.

The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, and it will be a momentous one in Minnesota: Governor Mark Dayton is retiring, and the unexpected resignation of U.S. Senator Al Franken has put both U.S. Senate seats on the ballot, along with all Congressional seats, all state-wide constitutional offices, and all 134 seats in the Minnesota House.

Gubernatorial Race (Open Seat)

Republican candidate and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has aligned himself with President Trump and touted a message of less government bureaucracy. Johnson will face U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (1st District) on the DFL side. Walz is a moderate Democrat running on a “One Minnesota” platform seeking to bridge the urban-rural divide.

Both candidates have a Native American running mate on the ticket: Peggy Flanagan (Walz) – White Earth Nation of Ojibwe and Donna Bergstrom (Johnson) – Red Lake Nation of Ojibwe .

Should Johnson win the November election and the State House and Senate retain a Republican majority, the Republicans would control State government. On the flip side, should Walz win, the DFL would retain a pivotal role in the upcoming legislative budget debate and the 2020 census and resulting redistricting.

The St. Cloud Times and Suffolk University conducted a survey of 500 likely voters between August 17-20. The poll shows Walz 45%/Johnson 40%.

Attorney General (Open Seat)

DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (5th District) has been an ardent Trump critic, and is sure to engage at the national level should he win. Former Eagan State Representative Doug Wardlow is the Republican candidate running on a conservative values agenda. The office of Attorney General has been held by a DFLer for the last 47 years.

Secretary of State

Incumbent DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon (Hopkins) is running against former State Senator and Red Wing Mayor John Howe. Simon is an advocate for increasing voter turnout, election system security, and early voting options. Howe’s message is one of office transparency and efficiency.

State Auditor (Open Seat)

Current DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto ran an unsuccessful bid for the DFL nomination for Governor, and will not be on the ballot.

Former teacher and AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer Julie Blaha (Minneapolis) is the DFL candidate facing former State House member and C.P.A. Pam Myhra (Burnsville).

U.S. Senate – Class 1

Incumbent U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (Plymouth) is running for reelection for a third term on the DFL ticket.  She is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for President in 2020.  Klobuchar will face conservative Republican State Rep. Jim Newberger (Becker).

The St. Cloud Times/Suffolk University poll shows Klobuchar 53%/Newberger 33%.

U.S. Senate – Class 2

Former Lt. Governor Sen. Tina Smith (appointed by Gov. Dayton to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Al Franken) is running to retain the seat on a progressive agenda. Smith (Minneapolis) will face Republican State Rep. Karin Housley (St. Mary’s Point) in November. Housley is a two-term State Senator and realtor.

The St. Cloud Times/Suffolk University poll shows Smith 43%/Housley 36%.

State Senate – District 13 (Open Seat)

State Senator Michelle Fischbach (R) joined former Governor Tim Pawlenty’s ticket as candidate for Lt. Governor in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for Governor.

The Central Minnesota district is heavily Republican. Former Sartell Mayor and Stearns County Commissioner Joe Perske is running on the DFL ticket against three-term State Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). Perske is advocating for affordable health care and access to quality education. Howe is running on restoring local control, tax reform, and making transportation funding a priority in the State budget. This will be the only State Senate seat on the ballot. State Senate seats are up in 2020.

1st Congressional District (Open Seat)

Former U.S. Dept. of Treasury official Jim Hagedorn (Blue Earth) is the Republican candidate. Hagedorn is focusing on agriculture, tax reform, and anti-abortion issues. He will face former soldier/Assistant Secretary of Defense Dan Feehan (N. Mankato) on the DFL-side in November. Hagedorn ran unsuccessfully against Tim Walz in 2014 and 2016. Trump won the district by 15 %. Feehan is promoting affordable post-secondary education, investments in infrastructure, and universal health care.

2nd Congressional District

The 2nd is considered a swing district and as such has garnered national attention. It has been held by Republican, former talk radio host Rep. Jason Lewis (Woodbury) since 2016. DFLer and former executive at St. Jude Medical Angie Craig (Eagan) lost to Lewis by a narrow margin (1.8%) in the last election, and is seeking to unseat him in 2018. Lewis has an independent streak and is an avid proponent of tax relief. Craig is advocating for campaign finance reform, collective bargaining, reproductive rights, and a living wage.

3rd Congressional District

Five term U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (Eden Prairie) is seeking reelection against wealthy DFL entrepreneur Dean Phillips (Deep Haven). Paulsen is promoting fiscal discipline and investment in technology, science, and math education. Notably, Paulsen did not attend the June rally for Trump in Duluth. Trump did not win the district. Phillips is an advocate for campaign finance reform.

4th Congressional District

Rep. Betty McCollum (St. Paul) has represented the safe DFL district since 2001.  She is a progressive Democrat serving on the Appropriations Committee. Her Republican opponent is plumber, business owner Greg Ryan. He ran unsuccessfully against her in 2016.

5th Congressional District (Open Seat)

State Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minneapolis) is running in a solidly DFL district. She was the first Somali-American woman elected to office in the nation. Omar received national publicity as a result of her 2016 win, and is expected to focus on economic justice, education, criminal justice reform, and a just immigration system. Republican activist Jennifer Zielinski is running against her.

6th Congressional District

Incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Emmer (Delano) is seeking reelection in a safe Republican district. Emmer is instrumentally involved in the National Republican Campaign Committee. Former member of the Air Force Ian Todd (Anoka) is running as the DFL candidate.

7th Congressional District

DFL Rep. Collin Peterson (Detroit Lakes) has served this rural, Pro-Trump district since 1991. Peterson is a conservative Democrat and is Ranking Minority Member on the House Agriculture Committee. His two-time Republican opponent is Air Force veteran David Hughes. Hughes lost to Peterson by 4% in 2016.

8th Congressional District (Open Seat)

Former State Rep. Joe Radinovich (Crosby) is running on the DFL ticket on a message of protecting collective bargaining rights, campaign finance reform, skyrocketing child care costs, and protecting Social Security and Medicare. He will face St. Louis County Commissioner and Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Pete Stauber (Hermantown) in the November election. Historically DFL, the district is now considered a toss-up.

State House

All State House seats will be on the ballot in November. Republicans currently hold an eleven-seat majority in the House.

 

The 2019 State Legislative Session will be gaveled in on January 8, 2019.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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