In Minn. primary, look south for top prize

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota voters have only a handful of primaries Tuesday, but there’s still plenty at stake.

GOP Rep. John Kline’s retirement set off a scramble for his southern Minnesota congressional seat, with four Republicans vying to advance to November. Conservative radio talker Jason Lewis carried the party’s endorsement, with businesswoman Darlene Miller, former state Sen. John Howe and consultant Matt Erickson also in it.

Democrat Angie Craig, a former St. Jude Medical Executive, had a clear path to face the winner in the fall.

Email newsletter signup

Meanwhile, one of Minnesota’s longest-serving lawmakers is fighting to extend her 44-year legislative career in a three-way Democratic primary. Minneapolis Rep. Phyllis Kahn has been challenged by two Somali community activists, Ilhan Omar and Mohamud Noor.

A win for either of Kahn’s challengers could pave the way for the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, since Tuesday’s winner was likely to be heavily favored in the liberal district.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt also had a primary challenger. Daudt, seen as a potential Republican candidate for governor at some point, was trying to fend off Alan Duff, a former Isanti County commissioner who said Daudt hadn’t done enough to limit state spending.

The only statewide race was for Supreme Court, where Associate Justice Natalie Hudson was the incumbent in a three-party field. Two candidates advance to November.

Turnout was expected to be very low. Ramsey County elections chief Joe Mansky, a former state elections official, estimated 5 percent turnout in his county, the state’s second-most populous. The secretary of state’s office wouldn’t give an estimate.