GOP Primary Guide

The Republican Party of MN made big gains to take control of the state legislature.

On Tuesday, August 9th several State Senate and House districts will host primaries to decide who will represent the Republican Party on the local tickets in November.  Alpha News has compiled a brief summary of the various races:

Senate District 1

The GOP primary in SD1 includes candidates Edwin Dale Hahn and Mark Johnson.  Hahn’s resume states he is a “team leader with business, manufacturing and engineering expertise.”  Johnson is a partner with Johnson Concrete Construction.  Both candidates have a strong social media presence, but since Johnson is the party-endorsed candidate he likely has a strong backing from local activists.  

Senate District 5

In Senate District 5, two Republican candidates, Justin Eichorn and Pedie Pederson are running against incumbent Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL). The most recent campaign finance report shows Eichorn raising $8,825.00.  Pederson is not registered with the Campaign Finance Board.  In 2012 Saxhaug defeated Republican candidate John Carlson 52.33% – 47.56%.

House District 15a

There are several GOP House races where the incumbent is facing a primary challenger.  In 15a Sondra Erickson, the incumbent since 1998, is being challenged by Tom Heinks.  Heinks is a navy veteran and worked in the manufacturing maintenance field for eleven years.  Erickson is the party-endorsed candidate.  

Senate District 15

Running for the GOP backing in SD15 are candidates Andrew Matthews and Dan Whitcomb.  Matthews’ website says that he is a pastor and attended law school.  Whitcomb is a veteran and the former Mayor of Zimmerman.  While Whitcomb has a longer resume, he is challenging the endorsed candidate.  Whitcomb’s website states, “I have chosen to challenge the Republican endorsed candidate because he lacks demonstrated community leadership skills, community issues, raising a family and business experience to be an effective advocate at the state senate for the issues facing our communities and families in District 15.”

Senate District 27

There are two Republican candidates running in the Senate District 27 Primary, Gene Dornink and Cynthia Gail. Dornink is the endorsed candidate.  His facebook says he is running because “we have had politicians put their needs before the needs of the people.”

According to Albert Lea Tribune his competitor Gail said if she is elected, she will work toward economic sustainability for all people, noting she is concerned about lobbyists and would like more transparency in the political lobbying process.

House District 31a

In what may be the most crucial state primary race, Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt is being challenged by former County Commissioner and retired army officer Alan Duff.  While Daudt is the endorsed candidate, a number of literature pieces attacking Speaker Daudt’s past have been seen throughout the district.  

House District 31b

Neighbor to Daudt’s district is another contentious primary battle.  Incumbent Tom Hackbarth is challenging party-endorsed candidate Calvin Bahr, despite Hackbarth pledging not to primary Bahr.  Hackbarth was first elected in 1994.  While Hackbarth has backing from Daudt and other leadership, Bahr has the support of local party activists.  

Senate District 32

SD32 features A contentious primary on the republican side, as incumbent Senator Sean Nienow is taking on party-endorsed candidate Mark Koran.  Koran has32 years of experience in directly dealing with corporate and government programs and issues.”   Nienow was first elected in 2002.  

House District 48a

GOP candidates Kris Newcomer and Mary Shapiro are going head-to-head in the 48a Republican primary. Shapiro is the party-endorsed candidate.   As Alpha News previously reported, Newcomer has a long history of financially backing DFL candidates over the last several years.  Newcomer is the executive director of The Firefly Sisterhood, helping to connect women recently diagnosed with breast cancer with breast cancer survivors, and served as vice chair of the Hopkins School Board.  Shapiro’s website explains she has a long background in education.  

Senate District 53

A much-talked about race is occurring in Senate District 53, where Bill Dahn is running against Sharna Wahlgren.  Wahlgren, the endorsed candidate, is being challenged by a former Democratic candidate.  Dahn is listed as a Democratic candidate for Governor of Minnesota in the 2014 elections.  Wahlgren has a legal career and ran against Rep. Betty McCollum in 2014.  

Senate District 64

The GOP Primary race in SD64 features Sharon Anderson and Ian Baird. Anderson is a former candidate for Minnesota Attorney General.  Ian Baird is a theater artist and carpenter.  

Subscribe to Alpha News for continued primary election coverage in Minnesota.  


Julia Erynn