Minnesota's caucuses are going to be very interesting

A wide open field in the gubernatorial race adds intrigue.

What's happening?

Political parties in Minnesota are hosting their first precinct caucuses ahead of the 2018 mid-terms.

At a series of neighborhood meetings, supporters of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) and the GOP will endorse candidates, select their delegates and party officers, and lay out the issues they feel should be part of their party's platform ahead of the November elections.

The race for Governor gets intriguing

This is a huge year for politics in Minnesota, because we are seeing both U.S. Senate seats up for election as well as all U.S. House seats, and the election of a new Minnesota governor.

That's why this week could be very interesting, because we're going to get the first indication of how party members feel about what issues are the most important to them in a momentous set of elections.

The main event of the caucuses will be a straw poll of gubernatorial candidates, giving us a first indication of who is each party's favorite in a year where both the DFL and GOP select new candidates, since current Gov. Mark Dayton is retiring.


– Trump plans Minnesota visit ahead of the mid-terms

DFL candidates include former St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman, Rep. Tim Walz, state Rep. Erin Murphy, state auditor Rebecca Otto and state Rep. Paul Thissen.

On the GOP side, declared candidates include Hennepin County commissioner and former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, Woodbury mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, former state GOP chairman Keith Downey, and activists Jeffrey Ryan Wharton and Phillip Parrish.

There are also rumors that former governor Tim Pawlenty is mulling another run.

You can find profiles of candidates for both parties here, courtesy of MinnPost.

Are the gubernatorial choices binding?

No. The caucuses are designed to get a feel of who the party should nominate as their endorsed candidate for governor in November.

The final decision on nominees will be made during nominating conventions in June.

As KSTP reports, the straw poll of gubernatorial candidates is "rarely indicative of who will win each party's nomination."

What about Senate and House races?

Another important part of caucusing will be the selection of delegates who will choose the candidates that will run in U.S. Senate and House races, as well as Minnesota House and Senate races.

In the U.S. Senate race, the only declared Republican candidate for Senate is Rep. Karin Housley, with others coy on their plans to challenge Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith for their seats.

There have been noises made that Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt could make a run for the Senate, with the Pioneer Press noting that former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch could also challenge.

As for the House races, there are expected to be strong DFL challenges to GOP incumbents Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis in a year in which a "blue wave" is expected.

How do I caucus?

You can find your closest caucus location here, courtesy of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. They should start at 7 p.m. and run until at least 8 p.m.

Some parties, such as the Independence Party, holds caucuses online as well as in-person.

As MPR describes, caucus-goers tend to be party regulars or "voters passionate about a specific issue or candidate."

You're support to generally agree with a party's principles, though in Minnesota there's no way of verifying that because you don't have to be registered with a party such as the DFL or GOP, or even be registered to vote, to take part in a caucus.

Next Up

Luis Arraez

Arráez's triple gives Twins rare extra-inning victory

The Twins scored three runs in the 10th to take Friday's opener.

court gavel

St. Cloud man sentenced after traveling to meet minor he solicited online

Nathan Paul Grondahl learned his fate in a federal court this week.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Report: Contract talks between Kaprizov and Wild have 'gone cold'

The report states Kaprizov is drawing interest from the KHL.


Glensheen Mansion reveals new coffee bar - with fresh donuts

It's located in the historic Carriage House garage space

Bogdan Vechirko

Charges against trucker who barreled through protestors could be dropped

Bogdan Vechirko will have to avoid legal trouble for a year.

Dychaun Chew - South High School Facebook

Loved ones mourn 16-year-old killed in Minneapolis hit-and-run

South High School held a balloon release for Dychaun Chew Thursday evening.

police lights

5-year-old dies 3 weeks after assault, mother's charges upped to murder

The girl died three weeks after the assault took place.


Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson lead caucus straw polls for governor race

Tim Walz and Jeff Johnson led the way among Democrat and GOP supporters respectively.

Tina Liebling's exit from governor race leaves 3 DFL candidates

She said her campaign would not succeed in the endorsement process.

Minnesota's state auditor is running for governor in 2018

She has been the State Auditor for 10 years, now Rebecca Otto is looking for a bigger challenge.

Report: Trump takes special interest in Minnesota race

The 8th District is expected to be one of the tightest in the nation.

Beaten in 2014, Jeff Johnson announces another run for governor

Johnson received 44.5 percent of the vote in 2014.

After packed town hall, Rep. Tim Walz says he's mulling a run for governor

He made the comments after a town hall meeting on Thursday.

Rick Nolan faces calls to resign after sex harassment claims against ex-staffer

An activist group is calling on Nolan to step down from the gubernatorial race.

Minnesota primaries 2018: The most intriguing battles to watch

Expect some tight races when voters select candidates next week.