Clinton takes Minnesota lead as Trump builds steam elsewhere

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Hillary Clinton built up a wide lead in Minnesota’s early returns Tuesday even as Republican Donald Trump took a commanding lead in swing states.

Clinton was the heavy favorite to capture Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes on Tuesday given the state’s 40-year streak of voting for Democrats, but Trump and running mate Mike Pence made separate stops in the state in the final days of the campaign.

All eyes were on a trio of competitive congressional races, including Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen’s decisive win for a fifth term representing Minneapolis’ western suburbs. Democrats and Republicans were also fighting it out in legislative districts across the state as the two parties jostled over House and Senate majorities. Minnesota elected the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker.

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Here’s a look at some of the races:



Clinton dispatched only surrogates as she focused her attention on other Midwestern states, while Trump’s campaign had just one paid staffer on the ground. A Clinton win would extend a Democratic voting streak that began after Richard Nixon swept most of the nation for his second term.



A Democratic challenger’s effort to tie Paulsen to Trump’s unpopularity in the suburbs didn’t pay off. Paulsen easily beat state Sen. Terri Bonoff in the 3rd Congressional District.

In northeastern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, Republicans hoped to capitalize on the appeal of Trump’s economic platform in mining towns wracked by a global steel industry downturn. A congressional rematch between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and GOP challenger Stewart Mills — who narrowly lost in 2014 — was one of the most expensive races in the country.

The attack ads were flowing in southern Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, an open seat vacated by retiring Rep. John Kline. Voters in the southeastern suburbs of Minneapolis were barraged with TV spots featuring controversial comments from conservative former radio host Jason Lewis. Angie Craig aimed to use the GOP candidate’s old career against him to expand Minnesota Democrats’ foothold among the state’s eight congressional districts.



Republicans were trying to defend a seven-seat majority in the Minnesota House that they billed as a necessary check against Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate were guarding a six-seat edge.

Long home to the nation’s largest Somali population, Minnesota elected the first Somali-American lawmaker. Democrat Ilhan Omar won a state House seat to represent a Minneapolis neighborhood often called “Little Mogadishu.”



Minnesota voters were asked to approve a constitutional amendment to hand power for setting the pay of state legislators to an independent body. Voters also were being asked to return Associate Justice Natalie Hudson to the Minnesota Supreme Court after being appointed to the bench last year.



David Hansen, 63, a Roseville Republican, voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson. “It seems like Hillary’s trying to do what she’s been told she needs to do, and Trump, he just does whatever he wants to, and he’s not fit to be the president,” he said.

Jake Timler, a 32-year-old environmental engineer from Roseville, said he voted for Clinton and thinks it would be great if she were to become the first woman president. “I think it demonstrates we are moving toward a progressive society.”

Abdulkadir Ashir, 37, is also a Democrat, and voted in a predominantly Somali neighborhood in Minneapolis. He voted for Clinton, calling some of Trump’s comments about Minnesota Somalis “unacceptable.” He said, “The only way I can respond with Donald Trump is this way — and I did.”

Laura Schmitt, a Republican from Woodbury, was one of the more than 650,000 people who voted early in Minnesota. The 54-year-old mother of four said, “I voted for Trump and I’m ready for a change.”



Voter mistrust extended to both presidential candidates, according to exit polling conducted for the Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research. Six in 10 Minnesota voters surveyed said Clinton was not trustworthy, while two-thirds said the same of Trump. A total of 1,097 Minnesota voters were interviewed in a random sample of 25 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroup