Primary Election Day 2014
Jeff Johnson gives his victory speech at the campaign party at Digby's in Plymouth on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. Caroline Yang / For MPR News
by Michael Olson, MPR News
- Jeff Johnson wins GOP Gov. nomination
- Mike McFadden wins GOP Sen. nomination
- DFLer Kahn, GOPer Loon fend off legislative challenges
- Otto wins DFL Auditor nomination
- Jim Hagedorn defeated the Republican endorsee in MN-01
- Tom Emmer wins GOP nod in MN-06
- Mike Obermueller wins DFL nod in MN-02
- Latest results
Scroll down for updates
What Dayton has going for and against him
"70% of so of Minnesotans say the state is going in the right direction," said Todd Rapp: DFL political commentator.
But will the DFLers show up?
"Democrats are going to have to show up at the polls, and Republicans are going to be there when they don't," said Maureen Shaver, Republican political commentator.
Zellers keeps hope alive
Catharine Richert, MPR News
Maple Grove Rep. Kurt Zellers arrived at the Maple Grove Tavern to a round of cheers from supporters.
The former House Speaker said he expects a long night for his campaign. An hour and half after the polls closed, he was neck-and-neck with Scott Honour with roughly 25 percent of the vote.
“It’s an early night and it’s going to be a long night,” Zellers said. “We kind of expected that from the beginning.”
The Zellers campaign said they’ll be keeping a close eye on votes from his home turf, but also in Otter Tail County, where Zellers running mate Dean Simpson is from.
Zellers has run on his pledge not to raise taxes as governor – a direct contrast to Dayton, who lived up to his campaign promise to make the wealthiest Minnesotans pay more.
Among Zellers supporters is Steve Tripp of Maple Grove. He Zellers’ fiscal conservatism and anti-tax campaign is the reason he’s supporting the former House Speaker.
But even if Zellers doesn’t win the primary, Tripp said he will get behind whoever does.
“Parties have a way of healing,” Tripp said. “Anyone who is conservative or conservative-leaning has watched what the liberal controlled government House and Senate has done to the state – we’re going to rally around anything that represents a change.”
Sitting next to Tripp is nineteen year-old Brandon Sieve of Maple Grove. Today’s primary was the first time Sieve voted in a statewide election. He said the fact that Zellers didn’t have the party’s backing is a plus in his book.
“The Republican party endorsement unfortunately isn’t as strong as it used to be,” Sieve said. There was a time when it was and that time is not today. Conservatives don’t have a ton of faith in the so-called ‘Republican party’ anymore.”
A fractured primary contest may actually be a good thing for the candidates, said Josh Ralph of Maple Grove.
“I think you see who is going to work, who is going to get out and get up and make the calls every day, who’s going to see the people,” Ralph said. “I think you see who wants it more.”
McFadden addresses supporters after winning GOP nomination
Mark Zdechlik, MPR News
McFadden is a first-time candidate who says he can apply his business expertise to making the federal government more efficient and less intrusive. Celebrating his primary victory with supporters at a St. Paul bar McFadden
"He has voted with the president 97 percent of the time he's for bigger government, [and] more regulation. He's for Obamacare. He's for higher energy costs and he's for an education status quo that does not work for some our most vulnerable citizens in this state. it is not acceptable."
Like many Republicans McFadden wants the Affordable Care Act known as "Obamacare." repealed. He also says the federal government over regulates business which he says is holding back the economic recovery.
"I know how to get us back on to the path to growth and prosperity. We can move forward. We can see our greatest days ahead of us and it starts with new leadership in Washington. It starts with replacing Sen. Franken in November.
Johnson emerges to take GOP governor primary
Brian Bakst, Associated Press
Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson swept to victory Tuesday in Minnesota's crowded GOP primary for governor, then declared himself the conservative who can defeat Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in November.
Johnson eased past three major rivals to win the nomination, and vindicated the party's decision to endorse him this spring before what turned into the party's first competitive primary for governor in 20 years.
Johnson beat former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, business executive Scott Honour and former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert. He benefited from the phone calls, canvassing and other outreach that came with party support and helped make up for better fundraising by some of his rivals, and vowed to give Dayton the run of his life this fall.
``We're going to be traveling like mad and raising money,'' Johnson told The Associated Press moments after his victory. ``Mark Dayton, while he's a good man, he seems to be in over his head somewhat.''
It is Johnson's second bid for statewide office. He lost in a 2006 campaign for attorney general. He has previously served in the Legislature.
He has 12 weeks to make his case against Dayton, who cruised to the Democratic nomination for a second term bid.
Accountant Leslie Smith cast her ballot in Edina for Johnson, whom she saw as the most able to stitch together a winning coalition in November.
``You want to go with someone who is electable, whether they're sometimes your first choice or not. Which is unfortunate, but that's how politics works,'' Smith said.
While waiting for his fall opponent, Dayton spent his time relentlessly promoting the state's economic turnaround during his first term. He faced little trouble in his primary campaign.
But Republicans see vulnerability in Dayton's support of a health insurance marketplace that struggled to get off the ground. They've also attacked changes in law he supported that benefited labor unions, and have tied him to a new Senate office building they portrayed as lavish.
It was the GOP's first competitive primary for governor in two decades, but the campaign was mild. No candidate aired TV attack ads against the others.
Johnson attracted the most criticism from the others late in the race, a nominal signal that he was the candidate to catch. He wasn't the best financed, but had the ground strength of the GOP mobilizing volunteers and call centers for him.
Johnson, 47, serves on the board for Minnesota's most populous county. The suburban lawyer spent six years in the state House before giving up his seat to run for attorney general in 2006, a race he lost. He remained active in party politics, cultivating connections he leaned on when he secured the Republican endorsement this spring.
Honour, 48, was in his first political campaign and stressed his outsider credentials. After a career as a venture capitalist that led him to California, Honour returned to his native Minnesota to raise his three children. He spent the most on the race thanks to personal wealth, and took some of the most strongly conservative positions, too _ such as saying he would lay off government workers to save taxpayers money.
Seifert, 42, was making his second attempt at the office four years after he didn't get the GOP's backing in his first bid. A former legislator who served 14 years in St. Paul, Seifert emphasized his status as the only lifelong Minnesotan who presently lives far from the Twin Cities area. His campaign had the smallest budget, depending mostly on Seifert's hustle around the state to do interviews with small-town newspapers and radio stations.
Zellers, 44, was the highest political achiever in the field with his two-year stint as House speaker. The position often put him at the bargaining table with Dayton. His role, particularly in the 2011 government shutdown, has been used both by and against him. He holds it up as evidence of staring down Dayton over taxes, but Democrats argue it was a symbol of inflexibility.
As in past years, the fall election will feature a wild card in the form of an Independence Party candidate. But Hannah Nicollet may make less of a difference than previous IP candidates because she failed to qualify for the public campaign subsidy that allowed them to run visible campaigns.
In two of the most hotly contested political races in the state, challengers are poised to unseat a longtime Democratic legislator and a veteran Republican one.
Business executive Mike McFadden won an easy victory in the Republican Senate primary, setting the stage for a race against Sen. Al Franken in November. In House races, Tom Emmer won the GOP primary in an effort to replace Rep. Michele Bachmann, and DFLer Mike Obermueller won the 2nd District primary.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto easily turned back a challenger from former Rep. Matt Entenza.
Johnson says he hopes his opponents "walk side by side with us" throughout the rest if he campaign.by tomscheck via twitter 8/13/2014 3:48:14 AM
Johnson says he's going to run a positive race against Mark Dayton.by tomscheck via twitter 8/13/2014 3:48:17 AM
Johnson said Dayton is a popular incumbent that some say will be difficult to beat. He says he'll contrast his vision w/ Dayton's promises.by tomscheck via twitter 8/13/2014 3:48:21 AM
Primary 2014: Jim Hagedorn defeated GOP endorsee Aaron Miller in the primary to determine who runs against four-term Rep. Tim Walz.
Seifert says he'll support Johnson
Elizabeth Baier, MPR News
Former state Rep. Marty Seifert conceded to GOP Gov. candidate Jeff Johnson, saying he would fully support Johnson’s campaign to defeat DFL incumbent Governor Mark Dayton.
“I certainly congratulate Jeff Johnson, [he] ran a good race, he is my friend,” said Seifert, while standing among a crowd of supporters in Mankato Tuesday night.
“Our goal right now, from this day forward for the next 83 days, will be to make sure that Mark Dayton is defeated and we have a Republican governor when the fall of 2014 votes are cast,” Seifert said.
Seifert said he plans to lend Johnson his full and unconditional support.
“That all along has been what our goal has been, is to make sure we have positive change in the state of Minnesota.”
Many of Seifert’s supporters expressed disappointment but also said they would stand behind Johnson in the race to the general election in November.
Among them were Gene and Linda Stageberg, who traveled from Minnetonka to Mankato Tuesday night to attend Seifert’s campaign party. The Stagebergs marched in all of Seifert’s parades, and talked to voters on his behalf.
Gene Stageberg believes the party will be able to unify after Tuesday’s Republican primary.
“All four of them are very conservative and very articulate and good candidates. I don’t think we can lose as far as which candidate wins,” Stageberg said.
Zellers "prepared" to help Johnson
Catharine Richert, MPR News
After coming in second place to Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson in a hotly contested Republican primary for Governor, Maple Grove Rep. Zellers said low voter turnout prevented him from coming in first.
“Low voter turnout hurt us more than anything,” Zellers said. “The party endorsement means something – it doesn’t mean quite what it used to – but I think that’s part of it.”
Earlier this summer, Johnson won his party’s endorsement while Zellers decided to head directly to the primary.
Zellers formerly served as Minnesota House Speaker and who ran on a pledge not to raise taxes. He said he never dreamed he be in the position of running for governor.
“I never in my wildest dreams at all thought that after growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere North Dakota I’d be this close to running for governor of the great state of Minnesota,” Zellers said. “It’s humbling to be here.”
Zellers said he was prepared to help Johnson defeat Dayton in the general election.
“I’ll be happy to raise money, to recommend him to my family, co-workers, anyone who voted for me,” Zellers said. “I want to see Mark Dayton retired from politics.”