Four incumbent DFL lawmakers lose primary elections

In one of the most closely-watched races at the congressional level, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of the Fifth Congressional District easily fended off primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux.

Source: mn.gov

Four incumbent Democratic state lawmakers lost their primaries Tuesday night to younger, more progressive challengers.

With 100% of precincts reporting in all four races, Rep. Raymond Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, Sen. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, and Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, won’t be returning to the Minnesota Legislature next year.

Hayden, who was recently selected to serve as an assistant minority leader in the Senate, was defeated by Omar Fateh by nearly 10 percentage points.

“We won this race tonight. We couldn’t have done it without the surge of grassroots support that came from south Minneapolis. This is what it looks like to hold power to account. This is what it looks like to win for change,” said Fateh, who won his party’s endorsement over Hayden.

In House District 59B, Dehn was defeated 47% to 42% by DFL-endorsed Esther Agbaje. Dehn was his party’s endorsed candidate in the 2018 Minneapolis mayoral contest, but lost to Jacob Frey.

Simonson suffered one of the most crushing defeats of the night at the hands of party-endorsed candidate Jen McEwen, who won 73% to 27%. Gov. Tim Walz endorsed Simonson for reelection in late July.

“I want to thank Duluth for the incredible opportunity to serve in the Minnesota Legislature over the past eight years,” said Simonson. “It has been an honor and I’m proud of the work we accomplished.”

Lesch, who has been in the House since 2002, was one of the only DFL-endorsed candidates to lose his primary race. Political newcomer Athena Hollins received 60% of the vote to Lesch’s 40%. Lesch currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee and has been a key figure in the Legislature’s police-reform efforts.

“Tonight, the grassroots democracy at the heart of the Minnesota DFL Party triumphed,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement. “With most results in, it appears that the candidates endorsed by the DFL Party won almost all of their primary elections.”

In one of the most closely-watched races at the congressional level, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of the Fifth Congressional District easily fended off primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux, who received 39% of the vote to Omar’s 57%.

Secretary of State Steve Simon noted that most of the votes were counted and reported Tuesday night, but his office won’t know everything until Thursday. That’s because of a recent court ruling that allows absentee ballots to be counted as long as they are postmarked on or before the day of an election and received in the mail no later than two days after.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.