The Latest: Minnesota Democrats feel the burn from Trump

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The Latest on Election Day in Minnesota. (all times local):

11 p.m.

Donald Trump’s stronger-than-expected performance in Minnesota is giving Democrats heartburn.

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The Republican nominee was trailing Hillary Clinton with more than half of precincts reporting, but not by the margins Democrats have come to expect. Minnesota hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972.

But Trump wasn’t dragging down fellow Republicans down the ballot like Democrats had hoped.

GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen easily won a fifth term in his suburban district. Former conservative radio host Jason Lewis built a sizable lead over Democrat Angie Craig in early returns in the 2nd Congressional District.

Even Democrats who were assumed as locks for re-election are sweating it out. Rep. Tim Walz was locked in a tight race with Republican Jim Hagedorn. Walz beat Hagedorn by nearly 10 percentage points in 2014.

10:05 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a wide lead in Minnesota’s early returns.

Clinton has long been favored to beat Donald Trump and capture Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes due to the state’s 40-year streak of breaking for Democrats. The last Republican to win Minnesota was Richard Nixon.

Trump and running mate Mike Pence made last-minute visits to Minnesota while the Clinton campaign dispatched many surrogates. But neither campaign expended much energy on Minnesota.

Most of the drama in Minnesota was centered around three congressional races. Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen easily won a fifth term to his suburban seat by beating Democrat Terri Bonoff. Returns were slowly trickling in from Minnesota’s 2nd and 8th congressional districts.


10 p.m.

Minnesota Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen has won a fifth term, surviving a Democratic challenger who sought to tie him to Donald Trump.

Paulsen defeated state Sen. Terri Bonoff in Tuesday’s elections. Paulsen’s victory closes out Bonoff’s longshot challenge in the 3rd Congressional District representing western Minneapolis suburbs.

Bonoff and Democratic outside political groups launched attacks that aimed to drag down Paulsen in the wealthy, well-educated suburbs by comparing him to Trump. Bonoff entered the race after it became clear Trump would secure the party’s nomination.

Paulsen was careful while speaking about Trump throughout the campaign, eventually declaring he wouldn’t vote for the Republican nominee.


8:05 p.m.

Minnesota has elected the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker.

Ilhan (ILL’-hahn) Omar won a spot in the state House on Tuesday. She’ll represent a district in Minneapolis that’s home to the largest Somali population outside of the east African country.

She was all but sure to win in the heavily Democratic district. She defeated one of the state’s longest-serving lawmakers in a Democratic primary this summer. Her Republican rival later dropped out of the race.

Omar is a 33-year-old community activist who came to the United States as an 8-year-old after spending years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Her victory seals the growing political clout of the area’s Somali community.

Minneapolis previously elected a Somali city councilman and school board member.

8 p.m.

The voting is over and the counting is underway in Minnesota.

Minnesota voters cast their ballots in races that would help determine the presidency, a trio of competitive congressional districts and which party would control the state House and Senate next year.

Exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research showed voters say the economy is the top issue facing the country. Voters also questioned the honesty of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Six in 10 voters say Clinton isn’t trustworthy, slightly less than the two-thirds who say the same about Trump.

Just how that will impact the presidential election is unclear. Clinton was the heavy favorite to capture a state that has broken for Democrats for 40 years.


6:55 p.m.

The power to decide who sets Minnesota lawmakers’ pay is in voters hands. They just may not know it.

A constitutional amendment to give that authority to an independent commission was on Tuesday’s ballot. Lawmakers are currently charged with setting their own pay but it hasn’t changed since 1999. Most legislators make just $31,000 annually.

A pair of Apple Valley voters thought all 201 lawmakers make $100,000 or more. Both Patricia Kramlinger and Luis Beltran said they voted for the amendment.

Beltran says it’s unfair that lawmakers decide their own salaries. He was floored when he learned their salary is much smaller than he had assumed.

Unlike controversial constitutional amendments on the ballot in 2012, there has been little campaigning on either side of the lawmaker pay issue.