Daily Digest: Day one of the general election campaign

Good morning, and welcome to the first day of the general election campaign. Lots of people voted in the primary yesterday. Let’s check the Digest to see who they chose.

1. Johnson upsets Pawlenty; Walz claims DFL nomination for governor. Tim Walz, a congressman from Minnesota’s 1st District, beat two other challengers in the DFL primary election for governor, while Jeff Johnson, the Republican-endorsed candidate for governor, pulled out a surprise upset over former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Walz said he was humbled by the win and thanked his supporters. “We believe in a state where we can come together around our shared values to address our diverse needs,” he said. “We believe in One Minnesota. And tonight’s victory shows that hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans do too.” Johnson maintained a steady lead over Pawlenty all evening and called state government “arrogant and broken.” “We will change the culture in St.Paul from that of controlling and directing Minnesotans to actually serving the people who pay our salaries,” he said. “Minnesotans will have more money in their pockets, and less government bureaucracy in their lives. For Pawlenty, who raised much more money than Johnson, the defeat marked a definitive end of his political career. “This is the era of Trump and I don’t fit into that very well,” Pawlenty said after his concession. “We knew the ground had shifted, but I think we thought there was still a reservoir of support from Pawlenty supporters we could draw upon to win this thing. But that turned out not to be the case.” (MPR News)

2. Omar wins DFL nomination in 5th; Smith and Housley to contend for Senate seat. State Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, handily defeated her closest challenger in the 5th Congressional District, former state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Because the district votes so heavily DFL, she is poised to make history by becoming the first Somali-American elected to Congress. “Together we can organize around the politics of hope and make sure that not only did we have the America we believed in but the America we deserve,” Omar told her supporters in Minneapolis Tuesday night. As the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature, Omar referenced her childhood and her hope for the future. “I talked about what my win would have meant for that 8-year-old girl in that refugee camp, and today, today I still think about her and I think about the kind of hope and optimism all of those 8-year-olds around the country and world get from seeing your beautiful faces elect and believe in someone like me.” Meanwhile, Sen. Tina Smith withstood an attempt by Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, to deny her a chance to hang onto the seat to which she was appointed after the resignation of U.S. Sen. Al Franken. The endorsed Republican candidate in the special election contest, Karin Housley, is a state senator from St. Marys Point who started a real estate business. She won with about 62 percent of the vote. Her primary challenger, Bob Anderson, a dental technician from Hastings, was pulling about 35 percent. (MPR News)

3. Ellison and Wardlow will face off for attorney general. Keith Ellison easily bested four other challengers in the DFL primary for attorney general and will face former state Rep. Doug Wardlow, the GOP-endorsed candidate, in November. With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, Ellison garnered just over half of all DFL votes in the primary election, which had high voter turnout. Wardlow grabbed 46 percent of the Republican votes over two opponents to win that contest. Ellison’s campaign 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. “We had a very unexpected event at the end of this campaign that happened. I want to assure you that it is not true. And we are going to keep on fighting all the way through, Ellison told supporters. Wardlow, of Eagan, is an attorney who served one term in the Minnesota House.  “I think it’s important to have an attorney general who’s going to stand up for the rule of law and enforce all of our laws and not pick and choose,” he said. “That means that we need to restore public safety, rebuild the criminal law division of the office and lift the burden of regulation off of job creators as well.” (MPR News)

4. Radinovich will face Stauber in CD8. In a five-way primary to decide the 8th Congressional District Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee for November, Joe Radinovich always seemed to present the straightest line to election victory. Late Tuesday, Radinovich delivered on his promise and clinched a surprisingly effortless primary victory — one that lands him in a midterm showdown with another primary runaway winner, GOP nominee Pete Stauber of Hermantown.  Armed with the most campaign money, the only television exposure and a bevy of special interest support, Radinovich had his face and message in constant display in voters’ mailboxes and on their cable TV screens. The exposure proved better than the door-to-door strategy of the rest of the candidates, as Radinovich worked on garnering almost 44 percent of the total DFL primary vote. “We’re going to stand up and speak out against the bad ideas that hurt the middle class,” Radinovich boomed. “We’re going to stand up for the things that build the middle class.” (Duluth News Tribune)

5. Hagedorn will face Feehan in CD1.  Jim Hagedorn is the GOP candidate to compete against Democrat Dan Feehan in November to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the 1st Congressional District. Hagedorn won Tuesday’s primary with 60 percent of the vote with 95 percent of precincts reporting. He defeated state Sen. Carla Nelson 24,961 to 13,400 votes with 37 precincts out of 697 left to report as of 11 p.m. Hagedorn took a commanding lead when early precincts came in shortly after 8 p.m. He continued to lead Nelson throughout the night. Two other candidates, Steve Williams and Andrew Candler, combined for about 7 to 8 percent of the vote as precincts came in. Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, is a longtime GOP official and a former U.S. Department of Treasury staffer. He’s built a reputation as an aggressive, deeply conservative candidate in previous elections.  DFL candidate Dan Feehan is a former U.S. Army officer and a teacher who later became an acting assistant secretary of defense during the Obama administration in 2016. Though this is his first time running for office, Feehan’s credentials closely match Walz, who decided against running for re-election to pursue the governor’s office. Feehan, the DFL’s endorsed candidate, handily defeated his only competition, Albert Lea businessman Colin Minehart, by capturing more than 80 percent of the vote Tuesday. (Mankato Free Press)
6. Norm Coleman fighting lung cancer. Former Sen. Norm Coleman disclosed Tuesday that he is weeks into intensive chemotherapy after a diagnosis of lung cancer, his second bout with cancer in recent years and one he says will test both his body and his spirit. “I won’t lie to you. Cancer has shaken my soul. But, it has not broken my spirit,” Coleman, 68, said in a lengthy statement describing his illness and the plan for attacking it. He said he is confident the fight is “very winnable.” Coleman, a Republican who left office nearly a decade ago, said the lesions that doctors ultimately diagnosed as lung cancer were detected during annual follow-up screening done after his prior fight with throat and neck cancer. About two years ago, he had surgery to remove tumors in his tonsils and lymph nodes and later underwent targeted doses of radiation and chemotherapy. He was found to be free of that cancer. (MPR News)

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