Good morning, and happy Thursday. Still trying to catch up on sleep, but the Digest can’t wait.
1. Hagedorn wins CD1 seat. On Wednesday morning, with all precincts finally in, Republican Jim Hagedorn held a 1,311-vote lead over Democrat Dan Feehan with more than 291,000 votes cast in southern Minnesota’s 1st District. Hagedorn, who came within 1 percentage point of defeating Walz two years ago, was making a fourth run at the seat (third time as the nominee) challenging Feehan, an Iraq War veteran and former official in the Obama administration. “I appreciate the faith and confidence the people of southern Minnesota have shown in me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to represent them in Congress,” said Hagedorn. “We campaigned aggressively with a message of patient-centered healthcare, border security and work for welfare, and those positions more closely represented the views and values of southern Minnesotans than those of my opponent,” Hagedorn stated. As for Feehan, he didn’t exactly concede. “With a difference of just 1,311 (.45%) votes separating the two candidates, we believe that it’s important to receive the official results that county canvass officers will release in the coming days. As this race is approximately 500 votes away from triggering a recount, the campaigns owe it to voters in the first congressional district to wait until official results are in,” said a statement from his campaign. (MPR News)
2. Voter turnout tops 60 percent. Minnesota voter turnout was the highest it’s been for a midterm election since 2002. According to preliminary estimates from the Secretary of State’s Office, nearly 2.6 million Minnesotans voted in-person on Tuesday or by absentee ballot. That’s about 63.8 percent of eligible voters in the state. Midterm election turnout hasn’t been that high since 2002, when turnout was 64.9 percent during President George W. Bush’s first term. A high turnout among Democrats helped them grab control of the state House. Democrats Tim Walz, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith won the governor and two Senate races, while Angie Craig and Dean Phillips knocked off Republican incumbents to flip two U.S. House seats in the Twin Cities suburbs. (AP)
3. More speculation about Klobuchar in 2020. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a low-key pragmatist who easily won reelection Tuesday, seemed destined to be on a vice presidential shortlist. But if pragmatic Midwestern women were good for Democrats in 2018, then they might be even better as the ticket-topper in 2020. Klobuchar deserves a fresh look as a presidential candidate. Other Midwestern senators who won reelection last night—Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin—would warrant consideration, too, but unlike Klobuchar, none has made moves to suggest a presidential run. (Politico)
4. Hutchinson wins Hennepin County sheriff seat. First-time candidate Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson claimed victory Wednesday over Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, even as Stanek refused to concede in one of the biggest local upsets of Tuesday’s election. Hutchinson’s winning margin to become the county’s top law enforcer was less than half a percentage point, but still high enough to avoid a publicly-funded recount. Stanek remained quiet Wednesday, with a statement from his campaign saying the race was “too close to call” and that he would wait until next Tuesday’s canvassing board meeting before making any further decisions. Yet Hutchinson, 39, moved forward by proclaiming his win and reaching out to the sheriff’s deputies’ union, which supported Stanek. On Wednesday afternoon, he appeared at City Hall with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “The reason we got our name out there is because we worked harder with a lot less,” said Hutchinson, wearing a blue blazer. “I’m excited to lead the Sheriff’s Office.” Hutchinson’s margin of victory was 0.44 percent, having gained more than 2,300 votes over Stanek. Stanek would have seven days after the meeting to call for a recount, which would be at his own expense.(Star Tribune)
5. Two more parties poised to gain major party status. The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party and the Legal Marijuana Now Party both managed to garner at least 5 percent of the vote in the statewide attorney general and state auditor race, respectively, crossing the threshold needed to earn major party status in the state. The secretary of state’s office said preliminary results show both parties had the votes needed to earn major party status, but the office was still canvasing results of the election to make sure they also earned at least one vote in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties. That process won’t be finalized until late November, but a review by MPR News showed both candidates earned at least one vote in every county in the state. Major parties get automatic access to the ballot, and their candidates for office can qualify to receive state subsidies. It can also help candidates gain attention and entrance into debates with candidates in Minnesota’s other major political parties, DFL and Republicans. (MPR News)
Barring big news, the Digest will take Friday off to allow me to recover from election night.