Minnesota's primary is Tuesday: Here are the races to watch


Minnesotans will head to the polls Tuesday to vote in the state primary, where they'll select who is going to appear on the general election ballot in November.

Voter turnout is expected to be pretty low because there's only one statewide primary on the ballot. And because it's a judicial election, voter turnout is typically even lower, MinnPost reports. (Read more on this race below.)

This November, Minnesotans will be voting to fill the state's eight U.S. Congressional seatsall 134 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives and all 67 seats in the state Senate. The stakes are high, MinnPost says, with Democrats hoping to win back the House and Republicans fighting to maintain control of it and win a majority in the Senate.

However, there are only primary contests in 28 legislative races and six congressional races, MPR News says. Here's a look at some of the races to watch on Tuesday.

2nd Congressional District

Four Republicans are seeking to get on the November ballot to fill Republican John Kline's seat, who decided not to seek reelection.

The 2nd Congressional District, which covers the southern Twin Cities metro area, is expected to be watched nationally come November because it's a swing seat, Hamline University professor Dave Schultz told FOX 9.

Angie Craig is the only Democrat running for the seat. In 2014, Kline was a high-profile target for Democrats who sought to oust him from the seat.

4th Congressional District

In the 4th Congressional District primary, incumbent U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum is facing Steve Carlson in the Democratic race.

Three Republicans – Greg Ryan, Gene Rechtzigel and Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey – are also on the primary ballot.

Ballotpedia says this race is "safely Democratic."

Minnesota House District 31A

Republican Speaker of the HouseKurt Daudt is being challenged by someone from his own party.

Army Major and small businessman Alan Duff is seeking to unseat Daudt in the Minnesota House District 31A race, telling voters in the loyally Republican district that the speaker has betrayed his constituents.

MPR News says Daudt is the "most notable incumbent facing a primary challenge" this year, noting outside groups, including the Tea Party, are getting involved in the race.

Sarah Udvig is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Minnesota House District 60B

Democrat incumbent Phyllis Kahn is in a three-way contest in Minneapolis' District 60B primary.

Kahn is one of the longest-serving lawmakers in Minnesota, and she is facing another tough campaign for reelection.

Her challengers:

  • Mohamud Noor, a former Minneapolis School Board member.
  • Ilhan Omar, a former policy aide for Minneapolis City Council member Andrew Johnson who now works with the Women Organizing Women network.

If either Noor or Omar is elected, they will be the first Somali-American legislator in the nation, MinnPost says. The race has fueled absentee voter turnout among Minneapolis' East African immigrant community, with the publication noting the race has divided the Somali community across Minnesota.

Minnesota House District 65A

Democrat Rena Moran is the only black member in the House of Representatives, and she is being challenged by Black Lives Matter activist Rashad Turner for the District 65A seat.

The Pioneer Press says the two have no history of working together, but "their rhetoric has become increasingly rancorous."

Turner says Moran doesn't speak out on social issues, while Moran (the DFL-endorsed candidate) says Turner doesn't "know anything about the legislative process" and has simplistic approach toward complex issues, the paper reports.

Minnesota Supreme Court

Choosing the candidates to be the next associate justice for the Minnesota Supreme Court is the only statewide race on the primary ballot this year.

Since Supreme Court justices are nonpartisan (meaning candidates don’t run as Republicans or Democrats), the top two vote-getters of the three total candidates continue on.

Incumbent Natalie Hudson, whom Gov. Mark Dayton appointed last year to fill the seat vacated by Justice Alan Page, is facing off against:

  • Craig Foss, a blind attorney who says he's running because he's having a hard time finding a job after being laid off from his legal aid job.
  • Michelle MacDonald, an attorney who was close to unseating Justice David Lillehaug in 2014.

A poll of Minnesota State Bar Association members showed they prefer Hudson over her challengers, but MinnPost says low voter turnout could mean an "outsized influence on the result" and Hudson not making it onto the November ballot.

It'd be the first time an incumbent judge has lost a bid for reelection since the 1940s, MinnPost adds.

More on the primary

MPR News has a easy-to-read breakdown of the most important races for the primary, click here to read it.

MinnPost lists the 25 most important legislative races to watch this year – the guide lets you sort the different races to compare them.

Ballotpedia also has a breakdown of the 2016 election in Minnesota, with information on each candidate.

To find out where you vote, click here.

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