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Primary wrap-up: Low turnout, a possible coin flip and more


Minnesota is known for high voter participation – it's got the best voter turnout in the country, according to Pew research.

But that didn't happen during Tuesday's primary election.

Preliminary numbers show less than 10 percent of the state's registered voters cast a ballot, MinnPost reports. Early estimates put the rate at about 9.8 percent.

While that's low, the Associated Press notes 2004 (7.73 percent) was far worse. An official count is expected next week.

You can view full statewide primary reporting statistics on the Secretary of State's website. The data gives you a look at the total number of registered voters in each county as of 7 a.m. Tuesday – next to how many estimated voters actually showed up.

MPR notes the low turnout could be partially due to "no-excuse" absentee balloting, making it much easier for Minnesotans to vote early. The state usually sees 10-15 percent voter turnout for the primary election in a non-presidential year.

Entenza criticized

Matt Entenza, who lost the nomination handily for state auditor to incumbent Rebecca Otto, cited the low turnout as one of the reasons for his struggles.

"We had obviously hoped for a better result, but a dramatically low turnout made it difficult to overcome the advantages of an incumbent candidate," he said in the statement posted on Facebook. He went on to offer Otto his full support in the upcoming election.

Entenza, the Pioneer Press reports, was harshly criticized Wednesday by DFL Party chair Ken Martin, who said the former state lawmaker forced the party to spend money on a race it didn't need to – money which could have been saved for the general election.

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The Pioneer Press says he spent more than $600,000 of his own money on running a negative campaign. Otto won by a margin of 81-19 percent.

For more results from the primary election, click here.

Republicans gubernatorial hopefuls join together

The Republicans hoping to win the party's nomination in the governor's race rallied in St. Paul Wednesday, in what was billed as a "unity" event.

In the tightly contested race for the Republican governor nomination, Jeff Johnson came away the winner with 30 percent of the vote. Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers was next with 24 percent. Businessman Scott Honour and former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert each had about 21 percent.

All four appeared at the unity press conference, with Johnson saying the party needs to remain united in order to defeat incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton this fall, the Star Tribune reports.

In a press release, Honour congratulated Johnson, and turned his support to the fall election.

“We must now unite as a party to ensure that our state achieves its full potential, rather than settle for mediocrity and business-as-usual," he said. "I am looking forward to working with Jeff Johnson so we can defeat Gov. Dayton in November and turn our state around."

Seifert tweeted a similar message, as did Zellers.

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Coin flip may determine one race

The Pioneer Press reports one city council race could come down to a coin flip, hat drawing, dice roll ... something random.

A 252-252 tie in Rosemount between Alba Nowlin (left in the photo above) and Jamal Abdulahi (right) needs to be broken by a random method, according to state statute, the paper reports.

Sun This Week reports the two are vying for the fourth and final spot on the ballot, with the quartet competing for two seats.

The canvassing board is set to meet Friday. A manual recount could happen if a candidate requests one after the board confirms the results, the Pioneer Press says.

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Sparse turnout expected in Tuesday's primary election

Minnesota voters will set the stage for an array of political races when they cast their ballot on Tuesday. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told the Red Wing Republican Eagle that primary turnout will be low, despite the closely watched primaries in the 1st and 8th Congressional Districts.

Minnesota had highest voter turnout in the country

The nearly three million Minnesotans that cast their votes Tuesday put the state at the top of the list for voter turnout nationwide. Nearly 76 percent of eligible voters in the state made it to the polls and broke a record number of ballots cast, but the percentage of voters is actually lower than it was in 2008.