Minnesota Primaries 2020: Here's where things stand

An official tally won't be compiled till later this week due to a late deadline for absentee votes.
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Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

While final tally is not expected till later this week due to absentee ballots having until Thursday to arrive, there were still enough votes counted on Tuesday for winners to be named in the Minnesota Primaries.

With the pandemic keeping many voters away from polling places, vote counters had to handle a huge number of absentee ballots, with more than 600,000 mail ballots having been requested prior to Tuesday's vote.

In Minneapolis, city officials say more ballots were cast in this year's primary than in any other for more than 50 years, with 103,222 received as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, with more still to arrive.

The most contentious race in the state, in the 5th District between Rep. Ilhan Omar and Antone Melton-Meaux, had its result confirmed shortly after 9 p.m. when the latter conceded with Omar having a seemingly unassailable lead.

Here's a look at the other results of note from Tuesday's primaries.

U.S. Senate

It will be Democratic incumbent Tina Smith vs. Republican challenger Jason Lewis, with both comfortably winning their respective party's nominations, though Smith garnered significantly more votes.

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An Emerson College poll released Tuesday suggested Smith has a 3% lead over Lewis, within the margin of error.

Lewis, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, lost his seat in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District to Angie Craig in 2018, and is now seeking a return to Congress.

"I am grateful for the overwhelming support our campaign has received so far, and I am honored to be your Republican nominee for U.S. Senate here in Minnesota," he said.

"With the primary behind us, we are now turning 100% of our attention to the general election and the fight to take back this seat."

"Today’s win is our win," Smith said. "This was possible bc of your hard work & support. I’m honored to fight for you. Now, we focus on November."

U.S. House of Representatives

Aside from Omar's win, there were some notable races that will set up interesting battles come November.

This is particularly the case in the 7th District, where long-serving Democrat Collin Peterson, a senior member of Congress who has held onto his district despite it going +31 for President Trump in 2016, will face off against Michelle Fischbach.

Fischbach, who was briefly the lieutenant governor under Mark Dayton after Tina Smith took Al Franken's place in the Senate, beat Dave Hughes – who faced Peterson in 2016 and 2018 – to the nomination with 59% of the vote.

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Other races set up on Tuesday include the 3rd District, where GOPer Kendall Qualls will try to make the DFL's Dean Phillips a one-term representative, while Lacy Johnson was given the mandate to challenge Omar in the 5th.

The GOP nomination in the 4th District, where Rep. Betty McCollum is the incumbent, is still too close to call with Gene Rechtzigel and Sia Lo separated by just a few percentage points with more votes still to be counted.

6th District Rep. Tom Emmer easily fought off a primary challenge from Patrick Munro, and will face DFLer Tawnja Zahradka.

And in the 8th District, DFLer Quinn Nystrom was the only nominee on the ballot, and received more votes than the incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber, who beat challenger Harry Robb Welty 

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State Legislature

There appear to be some notable changes in the Minnesota Legislature ahead of November's elections, with several longtime incumbents in the DFL set to lose to more progressive challengers, albeit with more results still to be counted.

The ousted include Rep. Raymond Dehn (District 59B - Minneapolis), who is set to lose 35-year-old Ivy League-educated lawyer Esther Agbaje, who is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants.

Elsewhere, nine-term Rep. John Lesch (66B – St. Paul) is in trouble against Athena Hollins despite Lesch having won the DFL endorsement at the convention earlier this year. He trails by 21 points as of Wednesday morning.

Other DFL incumbents in trouble include Sen. Erik Simonson (District 7 - Duluth), who is set to lose to challenger Jen McEwan, who was backed by conservation groups including the Boundary Waters Action Fund as someone who would fight efforts to expand mining on Minnesota's protected wilderness.

Meanqhile Minneapolis Sen. Jeff Hayden, who is 8 points down on Omar Fateh as of Wednesday morning.

 You can find the latest Minnesota Senate results here.

And the latest Minnesota House results here.

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