MN Congressional Primary Preview: Toss Ups and Cake Walks

On Tuesday, August 9th six of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts will vote in primary races, determining who will be on the ballot for their party in November.  Some endorsed candidates face formidable foes, while others are fighting tooth-and-nail to remain their party’s pick.  Alpha News has compiled a brief summary of every congressional primary Minnesota will face next Tuesday:

First Congressional District

Covering the southern portion of the state, Minnesota’s First Congressional District is participating in a Republican primary to choose their candidate to take on Congressman Tim Walz.  The Democratic Congressman was first elected in 2006 and is running for reelection in the swing district.

Running in the August 9th Republican Primary includes a man back on the campaign trail for the second time, Republican Jim Hagedorn. He’s on the ballot against lesser-known Steve Williams in the CD1 primary.  

Hagedorn has farming and business experience, and has spent decades working in various political arenas.  

Williams is a small business owner and prides himself on not being “a member of the political establishment.”

Hagedorn, the likely “cake walk” primary winner, lost to Walz in 2014 by 8.5%, but claims he only spent a few hundred dollars on that race, and has been “campaigning full time” since his loss to Walz.  

Second Congressional District

Minnesota’s Second Congressional District is considered nationally a US House Battleground for the general election because it’s an open seat, but the Republican primary is proving to be a battle in itself. Four candidates are vying to be the Republican on the ticket in a “toss-up” race to replace retiring Republican Representative John Kline.

The party-endorsed candidate is nationally syndicated radio show host and author Jason Lewis.  After winning the endorsement two candidates decided to take Lewis to a primary and stay in the race, Darlene Miller and John Howe.  Howe is a business owner and former State Senator.  Miller is the CEO of Permac Industries and was endorsed by Representative Kline.  The latest candidate to enter the race is veteran and small business owner Matthew Erickson, who is best known for his controversial social media posts.  

The winner will face off against Democratic candidate Angie Craig in November.  Kline won the district with 56% of the vote in 2014.  

Third Congressional District

There are no primaries in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.  In November State Senator Terri Bonoff (D) is challenging incumbent Representative Erik Paulsen (R).  In 2014 Paulsen won against Democrat Sharon Sund with 62.1% of the vote.

Fourth Congressional District

Covering the capital city of St. Paul, Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District is playing host to two primaries.  The seat is currently held by Representative Betty McCollum (D), who was first elected in 2000.  McCollum has a likely “cake-walk” in primary challenger in Steve Carlson, who ran as an independent candidate for US Senate against Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D).  

Republicans also have a primary in Minnesota’s Fourth.  The most active campaign is that of party-endorsed Greg Ryan.  Ryan owns a small plumbing business and has lived in the district his whole life.  Ryan faces two primary challengers, small business owner Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey and farmer and property manager Gene Rechtzigel.  The primary race will likely be a “cake-walk” for Ryan.  

In 2014 McCollum took home over 61% of the vote against Republican candidate Sharna Wahlgren, who is now running for state senate in St. Paul.  

Fifth Congressional District

US Representative Keith Ellison, the Democratic incumbent in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, takes on two primary challengers on the 9th.  Ellison’s challengers are former Department of Transportation employee Gregg Iverson and local activist Lee Bauer.

The primary will likely be a “cake walk” for Ellison, who will take on Republican candidate Frank Drake in November.  Ellison was first elected in 2006 and won the district with a massive 70.8% of the vote in 2014.  

Sixth Congressional District

Home of former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District faces primaries on both sides of the aisle.  Incumbent Freshman Representative Tom Emmer takes on AJ Kern and Patrick Munro in the Republican primary.  Both Kern and Munro served in the Army Reserves and are small business owners.  Several party insiders have dubbed this primary a “cake walk” for Emmer.  

On the Democratic side, Judy Evelyn Adams and government employee Bob Helland take on party-endorsed candidate and union iron worker David Snyder.  With a lack of public polling data available on this primary, it is a “toss up” as to who will earn their way on to the ballot in November.  

Emmer won the district with 56.3% of the vote in 2014.  

Seventh Congressional District

Democratic Representative Collin Peterson is safe on primary day, but Republican voters in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District will need to decide which candidate to place on the ballot come August 9th.

Author and advocate Amanda Lynn Hinson takes on party-endorsed candidate Dave Hughes, an Air Force veteran and employee at General Atomics.  This primary has also seen a significant lack of polling data and is therefore a “toss up.”  

Peterson was first elected in 1990.  In 2014 Peterson won the district with over 54% of the vote.  

Eighth Congressional District

There are no primaries in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District, where Republican Stewart Mills is once again taking on the incumbent, Democratic Representative Rick Nolan.  In 2014 Mills lost to Nolan with the slim margin of 47.1% to 48.5%.

Subscribe to Alpha News for up-to-the-minute primary coverage on Tuesday, August 9th.