Minnesota Primary Election Set for August 12

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

The Minnesota Primary Election will be held on August 12.  All 134 Minnesota House seats are up for election this year. Additionally all five Constitutional offices (Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Auditor) are also on the ballot. Minnesota has eight Congressional seats and all of those contests are on the 2014 ballot along with one United States Senate seat.

US Senate Race

Two GOP candidates are vying for the nomination to face incumbent Democrat Al Franken. Newcomer Mike McFadden, who won a hard fought endorsement battle at the GOP convention in May, has raised more than $2.85 million for the race. He is a businessman with Lazard Middle Market from suburban Sunfish Lake. The other major candidate is state Representative Jim Abler (R-Anoka). Abeler, serving in his eighth term in the state House, is a chiropractor with a strong health care background, who is known for his ability to work in a bi-partisan manner. Another three candidates are on the Republican ballot.

Governor’s Race

In the race for the Governor’s office, four Republicans are running in the primary for the right to challenge DFL incumbent Mark Dayton. Dayton does not have a Primary challenger. The four GOP candidates are:

Jeff Johnson, a former state Representative from Plymouth, who currently serves on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. He is running on a ticket with former state Representative Bill Kuisle who is a farmer from the Rochester area. Johnson won a heated battle for the Republican endorsement in late May.

Marty Seifert, a former House Minority Leader from Marshall, is running with state Representative Pam Myhra. Seifert vied unsuccessfully for the GOP endorsement.

Kurt Zellers, a former Speaker of the House from Maple Grove, currently serves as state Representative. Zellers did not bid for the GOP endorsement. He announced that he and his running mate, former state Representative Dean Simpson from Perham, would run in the Primary Election.

Scott Honour is the only candidate in the race with no elective office experience. He is running with state Senator Karin Housley from St. Mary’s Point.  Honour is a very successful venture capitalist campaigning as a government outsider.

Internal polls seem to indicate that Johnson and Zellers are the front runners but in a four-way August primary, anything can happen.


In the First District, Republicans Jim Hagedorn and Aaron Miller are vying for the right to face incumbent DFL Congressman Tim Walz. Endorsed candidate Tom Emmer, the 2012 Republican candidate for Governor, is facing Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, in the race to replace the retiring Congressman Michele Bachmann.

State Auditor

Incumbent Rebecca Otto is the endorsed DFLer, but she has a surprise last minute challenger in the race. Former state Representative Matt Entenza from St. Paul is vying for the slot on the DFL ticket. The race has become quite acrimonious with charges of campaign irregularities.

Secretary of State

Steve Simon won the DFL endorsement but he is being challenged in the primary by perennial candidate Dick Franson and Gregg Iverson.

House Races

All 134 House of Representative seats are up for election this cycle.  The DFL currently controls the House.  There are five DFL Primary races for the House and seven for the GOP.

DFL House Primary Races

  • 5A Walker/Bemidji - Incumbent John Persell vs. Lavern Pederson
  • 6A Chisholm/Hibbing - Incumbent Carly Melin vs. John Finken
  • 60B Minneapolis - 21 term incumbent Phyllis Kahn vs Mohamud Noor
  • 63B Minneapolis - 14 term incumbent Jean Wagenius vs. Roger Kittelson
  • 44B Minnetonka Open Seat - Jon Applebaum vs. Jon Tollefson vs. Tony Wagner (Open seat due to the retirement of Mike Benson).

GOP House Primary Races

  • 12A Elbow Lake/Morris/Starbuck - Nancy Taffe vs. Jeff Backer
  • 30B Albertville/Otsego/St. Michael - Eric Lucero vs. Kevin Kasel (Open seat due to the retirement of David Fitzsimmons)
  • 35A Anoka/Ramsey - Abigail Whelan vs. Justin Boals (Open seat due to the retirement of Jim Abeler)
  • 47A Mayer/Waconia/Carver Jim Nash vs. Bob Frey (Open seat for the GOP due to the retirement of Ernie Leidiger)
  • 48B Eden Prairie – Three term incumbent Jen Loon vs. Sheila Kihne
  • 51A Eagan - Andrea Todd-Harlin vs. Victor Lake
  • 55A Shakopee - Bruce Mackenthun vs Bob Loonan (Open seat for the GOP due to the retirement of long-term incumbent Mike Beard.)

House Elections

DFL Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (Mpls) and Majority Leader Erin Murphy (St. Paul) have a 73-61 margin of control in the House. They will need to protect their incumbents, manage four DFL retirements and defend vulnerable swing seats from the GOP.  The lone DFL state Representative with no GOP challenger is Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester).

Republican Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (GOP-Crown) and Deputy Minority Leader Jenifer Loon (GOP-Eden Prairie) need to pick up seven GOP seats to take majority control of the House. They have fewer incumbents to protect but have to deal with ten GOP retirements.  Eight Republican incumbents have no challengers.


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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