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October 21, 2014

7 Minnesota congressional incumbents win; Cravaack falls

Seven U.S. House members from Minnesota won re-election on Tuesday: Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Erik Paulsen, Tim Walz, John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Collin Peterson.

One incumbent lost: DFLer Rick Nolan upset freshman incumbent Chip Cravaack in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.

Here’s a glance at Minnesota’s U.S. House races:

1st District: DFL incumbent Tim Walz faced GOP challenger Allen Quist. Walz has survived in the right-leaning district by making a name for himself as a bipartisan problem-solver. Quist criticized Walz during the campaign for being a part of a troubled Congress that allowed runaway deficits, and for Walz’s support for a $500 billion farm bill.

2nd District: Republican incumbent Rep. John Kline had a bit tougher path to re-election against DFLer Mike Obermueller this year after redistricting shaved off a conservative slice of his district and he inherited liberal St. Paul suburbs.

3rd District: Incumbent Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen outspent his challenger Navy veteran Brian Barnes, who tried to tie Paulsen to Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann.

4th District: DFL Rep. Betty McCollum represents liberal St. Paul, so it was an uphill battle from the beginning for challenger Anthony Hernandez, and McCollum is cruising to a win.

5th District: DFL Rep. Keith Ellison defeated U.S. Marines veteran Chris Fields for the Minneapolis district. The two had by far the nastiest moment of the campaign season when they traded personal attacks during a debate, and Ellison called Fields a scumbag.

6th District: Wealthy hotelier Jim Graves offered himself to voters as a moderate alternative to the outspoken and often controversial Michele Bachmann, who has become a national favorite of the far right. He was her toughest challenge yet, but despite his personal riches, she raised more cash in the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation.

7th District: Incumbent Collin Peterson is the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, and relatively popular in his rural district, although it traditionally leans right. He faces Lee Byberg, who self-funded much of his campaign.

8th District: This was the race to watch in Minnesota heading into Election Night, the Associated Press said earlier Tuesday. In one of the nation’s closest House races that drew some of the biggest donations from outside groups, freshman GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack faced DFLer Rick Nolan. Cravaack made a national name for himself when in 2010 he ousted 36-year House veteran Jim Oberstar. Nolan served in the House from 1975 to 1981. Cravaack has tried to paint Nolan as anti-mining in the Iron Range district, but Nolan has appealed to left-leaning voters in an area with deep DFL ties.