Daily Digest: Omar wins party nod in crowded CD5 race

Good morning. It’s that rare Minnesota Monday when some look forward to getting back to work to enjoy the free air conditioning. Let’s take a look at the Digest.

1. Omar gets DFL endorsement in 5th District. First-term state Rep. Ilhan Omar has won the DFL endorsement to run in the Aug. 14 primary for the 5th District congressional seat being vacated by Keith Ellison. It’s the first time the seat, long safe for Democrats, has been open since 2006, when Martin Sabo retired. The election opened up after intrigue at the party’s state convention wound up with Attorney General Lori Swanson deciding to run for governor — and Ellison opting to return from Washington to run for her office. Omar faced off Sunday against State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and former Republican candidate Frank Drake at a Sunday afternoon convention at Clara Barton Open School in south Minneapolis. Drake was knocked out on the first ballot, and Omar won with 68 percent of the votes on the second ballot, even after Torres Ray took to the podium and released her delegates. Omar said she thinks she’ll be the candidate going on to the general election in November. The other candidates will still run in the August primary. (MPR News)

2. PUC to hear final testimony on Line 3 replacement. Beginning today, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will hear final arguments for and against Enbridge Energy’s plan to build a new line to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline that runs through northern Minnesota. The commission is expected to decide whether — and how — to allow the project to move forward no later than June 28. The testimony and the decision comes after a nearly four-year process, but they will mark the beginning of what could continue to be a long, emotional battle for those invested in the project’s outcome. Protesters from across the country are expected in Minnesota this month, and they might stay. (MPR News)

3. Election watchers expect big turnout for August primary. Minnesota summer primaries are typically sleepy affairs with lousy turnout and a call-me-in-the-fall attitude among voters. Not this year. Instead, election observers say several high-profile party races led by the campaign for governor may drive turnout for the Aug. 14 primary to levels not seen in 20 years. “There is real energy behind these primary election contests and there is uncertainty over who is going to win,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who oversees state elections. “I haven’t seen any polling, but I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen in these races. That typically contributes to higher turnout.”  Joe Mansky, the longtime manager for Ramsey County elections, predicts turnout across the state could top 28 percent, an “extraordinary” level, he said. (MPR News)

4. Battle for control of state House will be hard fought. There are still five months until Election Day, but Minnesota House candidates are already fighting for voters’ attention and donors’ money amid a whirlwind of congressional and statewide races. The local competitions for 134 House seats may not be the big-ticket battles of this election year, but the House majority is still extremely valuable to both parties, and it’s swung between the GOP and DFL frequently in the last dozen years. Republicans used their wide majority in the House to block many pieces of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s agenda in recent years. They want to maintain that backstop in case another Democrat takes the governor’s seat — or to reshape state government alongside a GOP governor. DFLers, meanwhile, are set on closing the gap, and are drawing hope from the results of past midterm elections. (Star Tribune)

5. Cargill opposes Trump trade policies. Cargill, the Minnesota-based agricultural and shipping giant that is one of the world’s largest private companies, has emerged as a leading voice in support of global trade as President Donald Trump imposes protective tariffs on other countries. Trump broke with U.S. allies in the G-7 over tariffs that will sharply raise the price of U.S. imports of aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico and the 28 countries of the European Union. The president says the tariffs are necessary to rebuild the U.S. steel and aluminum industries for reasons of national security. He believes the levies will lead to an increase in American manufacturing jobs. Cargill wants the U.S. to return to the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement from which the president withdrew, saying negotiations with individual countries would render fairer deals for America. The company wants support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has argued unfairly favors Mexico and Canada over the U.S. and jeopardizes jobs in this country. Cargill wants an end to the Cuban embargo, which the White House won’t agree to. (Star Tribune)

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