A handful of GOP incumbents lose endorsements to outsider candidates 

Other incumbents like Rep. Joe McDonald and Sen. Karin Housley have also faced intra-party challengers and won. 

Sens. Paul Utke, left, and Eric Pratt lost their endorsements to intra-party challengers. (Minnesota Senate)

At least two incumbent Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have lost their endorsement battles to outsider candidates.

Bret Bussman defeated Sen. Paul Utke for the GOP endorsement over the weekend in the new Senate District 5. Utke reportedly plans to run in the primary anyway.

Sen. Eric Pratt lost to nurse Natalie Barnes in the newly-drawn Senate District 54 late last month.

Rep. Tony Jurgens, now running for Senate, was beat out by Tom Dippel for the GOP endorsement in Senate District 41, according to Action 4 Liberty, an activist group that is backing some of the challengers.

Other incumbents like Rep. Joe McDonald and Sen. Karin Housley have also faced intra-party challengers and won.

In the new Senate District 20, Rep. Steve Drazkowski easily defeated Rep. Barb Haley on the first vote.

“Our freedoms come from God, not from government. Our Founding Fathers wrote an amazing Constitution to protect our God-given freedoms. It is our responsibility to enact laws that respect those freedoms,” Drazkowski said in a statement.

After being redrawn into the same district, Sen. Justin Eichorn beat Sen. Carrie Ruud for the support of the GOP in Senate District 6.

Delegates have opted not to endorse a candidate in Rep. Erik Mortensen’s district and Rep. Ron Kresha’s district.

On the DFL side, Rep. John Thompson lost the party’s endorsement to Liz Lee, while Sen. Jason Isaacson lost to fellow incumbent John Marty.