Minnesota 2018 Primary Election: Results and Analysis | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesota 2018 Primary Election: Results and Analysis

Minnesota voters head to the polls to determine who will be on November's general election ballot.

  • Photos: A record-breaking primary turnout

    Across Minnesota, voter turnout surprised election officials. In Minneapolis, the city clerk's office says turnout by early Tuesday afternoon was already well beyond that of the last three primary elections.
  • Voters turn out in record numbers in primary election

    Voter turnout across Minnesota called "unusually high,'' making some elections officials wonder what November will bring.
  • Important note for you last minute voters: If you're in line to vote before 8 p.m. -- even if it's 7:59 p.m -- state law says you get to cast your ballot. Know your rights as a voter!
  • Polls close in 10 minutes in for the 2018 Minnesota primary!
    That's when things really get interesting. 
    As a reminder, here are the major races we are watching tonight: 
    -Open race for governor
    -Open attorney general's race
    - U.S. Senate primary 
    - Congressional primaries in 1st, 5th and 8th districts
    Watch the results come in live via updates here, or if you want to track the votes coming in yourself, you can do that right at the Minnesota Secretary of State's website here
  • Wisconsin Sen. Baldwin advances to November race

    WASHINGTON (AP) —  Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is advancing to the November general election after facing no opposition from her own party.

    She faces a tough re-election bid against one of two loyalists to President Donald Trump who are seeking to run against her. Baldwin is the only Democrat in a statewide office of importance in Wisconsin, and outside groups have already spent millions on television ads attacking her.

    Baldwin's campaign has played up her work on moderate and core Wisconsin issues, including her buy-America plan that Trump supports and her work with Republican Sen. John McCain on lowering drug costs.

    The Republicans battling to run against her are political outsider Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir. Polls show their race to be very close.

  • Favorites for Franken's Minnesota seat reflect #MeToo's rise

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The sudden downfall of Sen. Al Franken amid the rise of the #MeToo movement set the course for what could be a two-woman race to finish his term, part of an unusual primary Tuesday featuring both of Minnesota's Senate seats on the same ballot.
    Franken's successor, Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, easily defeated a former Republican ethics attorney-turned top critic of President Donald Trump to advance to the fall election. State Sen. Karin Housley, who won the GOP endorsement, was her party's heavy favorite to face Smith.
    In Minnesota's other Senate race, popular incumbent Amy Klobuchar easily defeated four Democrats and will face the GOP's endorsed candidate, state Rep. Jim Newberger, in the fall.
    Franken, a Democrat and former "Saturday Night Live" comedian, resigned at the beginning of the year after a firestorm erupted last November amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith , his lieutenant governor and a top aide, to the seat until this November's special election to fill out the final two years of Franken's term.
    A Smith-Housley matchup would come at a time when the #MeToo movement has changed the American landscape, sweeping many high-profile men out of power in politics , media and entertainment . A record number of women are now running for governor and Congress across the country.
    Democrats resoundingly endorsed Smith at their state convention in June. But there were hints of some Democratic voters who wanted Smith to take a more vocal role in criticizing the president. They found that in Painter, a former ethics attorney in President George W. Bush's administration whose profile rose as a strident critic on cable TV.
    Painter, now a law professor at the University of Minnesota, ran to Smith's left on some other issues, including supporting single-payer health care and opposing copper-nickel mining. But Smith easily defeated him.
    Bryan Rich, 42, said Smith was an easy choice, saying he "wouldn't trust Painter" to behave as a real Democrat.
    "He's not a true liberal, I don't think," he said.
    Housley, who had no opposition for the GOP endorsement, was considered the strong favorite over two little-known Republicans. The two-term state senator's name is familiar in hockey-crazy Minnesota because her husband is Phil Housley, the Hall of Fame defenseman who jumped straight from South St. Paul High School into the NHL and now coaches the Buffalo Sabres.
    --Steve Karnowski, Associated Press
  • Polls close in Minnesota and Wisconsin

    AP -- Polls have closed for primary elections in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Polling places across the two states shut their doors at 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. Local election officials are now counting the votes. Results will trickle in over the coming hours.

    Primaries in both states included races for governor and Senate, and both Senate seats were on Minnesota's ballot because of a special election to finish Al Franken's term.

    Key House races included the Wisconsin primary for the seat that currently belongs to House Speaker Paul Ryan and a Minnesota seat being vacated by Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress. Ellison is running for state attorney general amid domestic abuse allegations from an ex-girlfriend. He denies them.

  • Midwest primaries test Trump appeal against 'blue wave'

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrats tested the strength of their "blue wave" against President Trump's grip on America's white, working class Tuesday as the 2018 primary season lurched closer to an end in two Midwestern battlegrounds.
    At the same time, Vermont Democrats were considering whether to support the nation's first transgender major party nominee for governor, part of a so-called "rainbow wave" of extraordinarily diverse candidates up and down the ballot across the nation.
    Accusations of domestic violence involving the Democratic National Committee's second-in-command threatened to undermine Democratic enthusiasm, particularly in Minnesota, a state still healing from scandal.
    In all, four states hosted primary elections Tuesday as the primary season neared its final chapter. The first polls closed in Vermont and Connecticut, to be followed by Minnesota and Wisconsin.
    All but 10 states will have picked their candidates for November's general election by the time the day's votes are counted. While the full political battlefield isn't quite set, the stakes are clear: Democrats are working to topple Republican control of Congress and governors' offices across the nation.
    Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, who leads the Democratic Governors Association, predicted that Tuesday would offer fresh evidence of a blue wave that would sweep Democrats into power this November.
    "Trump has managed to alienate every form of human life on the planet," Inslee told The Associated Press when asked about his party's appeal among white working-class voters. "They're tired of this chaos."
    In Vermont, Democrat Christine Hallquist was working to become the nation's first transgender governor.
    The former chief executive of Vermont Electric Cooperative was running in a field of four Democrats. They included 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, who took advantage of an apparent oversight by the state founders who didn't include an age requirement for the state's top office.
    Hallquist would face a tough fight in November: Republican incumbent Phil Scott remains more popular with Democrats than members of his own party in the solidly liberal state.
    Vermont Democrats also formally nominated Sen. Bernie Sanders, who hasn't ruled out a second presidential run in 2020, for a third term in the Senate. The 76-year-old democratic socialist won the Democratic nomination, but he is expected to turn it down and run as an independent.
    Democrats appeared particularly motivated in Wisconsin, where eight candidates lined up for the chance to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a two-term incumbent who has warned his party about the prospect of Democratic gains.
    Walker's strong anti-union policies made him a villain to Democrats long before Trump's rise. State schools chief Tony Evers, who has clashed with Walker at times, entered the primary as the best-known of the Democratic challengers.
    Once a target of Trump criticism, Walker gained the president's endorsement in a tweet Monday night calling him "a tremendous Governor who has done incredible things for that Great State." But Trump's persistent attacks on Wisconsin-based motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson put Republican candidates on their heels in recent days, Walker among them.
    "There's a lot of disgust at what's going on at the top level moving down," said Madison voter Conor McGuire, 49, who described himself as a frustrated Republican but voted for Democrat Evers.
    Initially a Walker supporter, McGuire said he's disgusted by Walker's embrace of Trump. Walker said Monday he opposed the Harley boycott. His Democratic opponents embraced the fight.

    "By attacking Wisconsin workers to cover for failed economic policy, President Trump took a page right out of Scott Walker's playbook," said Mahlon Mitchell, one of the candidates and the head of the state firefighters union.
    Trump also stars, informally at least, in Wisconsin's Senate primaries as Republicans try to deny Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin a second term.
    The GOP primary featured fervent Trump supporters: former Marine Kevin Nicholson, running as an outsider, and longtime state lawmaker Leah Vukmir, who is backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Neither candidate was an early Trump supporter, and Vukmir has struggled to explain footage recently unearthed from 2016 in which she calls Trump "offensive to everyone."
    Tuesday's primaries served as a test of Democratic enthusiasm in the upper Midwest, a region that has long been associated with liberal politics but has been trending red. Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since 1984.
    It's much the same in Minnesota, where Trump lost by less than 3 percentage points in a state that hasn't backed a Republican presidential contender since 1972.
    Minnesota voters will pick candidates in competitive races for governor, the Senate and the House. But a down-ballot race for state attorney general may overshadow them all.
    Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic National Committee's deputy chairman, was expected to capture his party's nomination in the race to become the state's top law enforcement official. That was before Ellison's candidacy was rocked by allegations over the weekend of domestic violence amid a broader national outcry against sexual misconduct by powerful men in business, entertainment and politics.
    Ellison has denied a former girlfriend's allegations that he dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities during a 2016 relationship she said was plagued by "narcissistic abuse."
    Feelings about misconduct are still fresh in Minnesota, where Democratic Sen. Al Franken resigned in December after multiple allegations of unwanted sexual touching. His replacement, Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, was on Tuesday's ballot as she seeks her first full term. She's facing Democrat Richard Painter, a former George W. Bush ethics lawyer.
    Former two-term Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty may be the biggest name on Minnesota's ballot.
    He's the leading Republican candidate in the high-profile race to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Having lost his own short-lived bid for president in 2012, Pawlenty spent much of the past six years as a corporate lobbyist.

    Like Republican candidates elsewhere, Pawlenty has struggled to live down his blistering critique of Trump in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election. At the time, he called Trump "unhinged and unfit for the presidency." Pawlenty has since said he voted for Trump and supports his agenda.
    The Democratic field for governor features U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, state Rep. Erin Murphy and Attorney General Lori Swanson.
    Not to be forgotten: Connecticut held primary contests as well.
    Five Republicans have lined up to replace the unpopular outgoing governor, Democrat Dan Malloy. Former gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont won the Democratic nomination.
    -- Steve Peoples, Scott Bauer, Associated Press
  • Ballot shortages along the Iron Range

    It could be a long night for results in the 8th congressional district. The Duluth News Tribune reports ballot shortages in some precincts in Hibbing and Eveleth ran out of ballots and had to switch to backup ballots. Those ballots will have to be counted by hand.
  • Democratic Governor Race Results

    U.S. Rep. Tim Walz leads state Rep. Erin Murphy 41 percent to 36 percent. Lori Swanson is down at 21 percent.
  • The polls are closed and results are coming in. What question do you have about the #MNprimary? #AskMPRnews Follow live coverage: http://live.mprnews.org/Event/Minnesota_2018_Primary_Election

  • And the polls are closed!
  • Voters weigh in on the primary election choices

    By Jiwon Choi and Associated Press — Voters at the polls shared their thoughts about which way they decided to vote Tuesday.
    At Ravoux Hi-Rise in St. Paul, Montgomeri Baldwin brought her two-year-old grandson, Victor, with her to the polls. She said she picked women on her ballot because she said "we need more women to make some decisions."
    She also said that she believed the recent allegations about Congressman Keith Ellison. 
    "I thought he was a standup guy and when you hear about things like that," Baldwin said, "if someone said that they saw videos and they have in their phone, believe it. It's in their phone and it's going to surface and it's going to be all over the place."

    John Feemster also cast his ballot at Ravoux Hi-Rise, and said he doesn't believe the recent allegations against Ellison.

    "I think it's a bunch of hearsay. There's no real proof or anything like that, at least as far as I can tell at this point and it's just hearsay as far as I'm concerned so I voted for him anyways," Feemster said. "It just sounds like dirty politics to me."
    At Peace Lutheran Church in Plymouth, voter Diane Anthony weighed in on the Democratic race for governor. The 54-year-old mother of two describes herself as a moderate Democrat who always votes.
    Anthony cast her ballot for Attorney General Lori Swanson. She says late accusations that Swanson had pressured staffers in her office to volunteer for her campaign did not matter to her. Swanson called that accusation a lie.
    Republican Russel Carlson says he's a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and voted for Jeff Johnson in the Republic primary for governor.
    The 72-year-old retired executive says Johnson is his pick because he pledged to support Trump. Carlson says it doesn't matter that Johnson ran for governor four years ago and lost. He says Johnson's challenger, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, has had his chance in the job and is more moderate.
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