Hot Minnesota races may drive up voter turnout

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ST. PAUL — Political observers have a saying they like to resurrect at every election: It's all about turnout.

Well, of course it is. Whichever candidates get more of their supporters to the polls will win.

But figuring out who will show up for the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary election is an impossible task, in a large part because President Donald Trump could drive up turnout from both major political parties.

"I think even though President Trump is not on the ballot, in a way he is on the ballot, in some races, on both sides," Secretary of State Steve Simon said. "His presence will be felt."

Two years ago, Trump did well in greater Minnesota, where Republicans dominate many areas.

In four of the past five statewide primaries, greater Minnesota voters were more likely to participate than residents of the seven-county Twin Cities area. In three of those contests, the sheer number of greater Minnesota voters was greater than in the Twin Cities.

That dominance comes even as greater Minnesota has fewer registered voters (1.4 million) than the Twin Cities (1.7 million). Twin Cities voters typically cast more ballots in November elections, but greater Minnesota residents continue to turn out in strong numbers.
"Folks in rural Minnesota are very engaged with what is going on in their communities," said Bradley Peterson, executive director of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. "They need to be listened to. Any candidate that doesn't — does so at their own peril."

Simon, the state's top election official, would not predict how many voters will turn out later this month, but said based on early voting more people may cast ballots than they have for most other primary elections.

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>Minnesota candidates

(Primaries needed only when there is more than one candidate in a party)

U.S. Senate (full six-year term)

Republican: Jim Newberger, Rocky De La Fuente, Rae Hart Anderson, Merrill Anderson

Democrat: Amy Klobuchar(i), Leonard Richards, David Robert Groves, Stephen Emery, Steve Carlson.

Green: Paula Overby

Legal Marijuana Now: Dennis Schuller

U.S. Senate (to fill two years of Franken term)

Republican: Karin Housley, Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey, Bob Anderson

Democrat: Tina Smith, Richard Painter, Christopher Lovell Seymore Sr., Nick Leonard, Gregg Iverson, Ali Chehem Ali

Unaffiliated: Jerry Trooien

Legal Marijuana Now: Sarah Wellington

U.S. House District 1

Republican: Andrew Candler, Jim Hagedorn, Carla Nelson, Steve Williams

Democrat: Dan Feehan, Coke Minehart

U.S. House District 2

Republican: Jason Lewis(i)

Democrat: Angie Craig

U.S. House District 3

Republican: Erik Paulsen(i)

Democrat: Dean Phillips, Cole Young

U.S. House District 4

Republican: Greg Ryan

Democrat: Muad Hassan, Betty McCollum(i), Reid Rossell

Legal Marijuana Now: Susan Pendergast Sindt

U.S. House District 5

Republican: Bob Carney Jr., Christopher Chamberlin, Jennifer Zielinski

Democrat: Jamal Abdi Abdulahi, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Bobby Joe Champion, Frank Nelson Drake, Ilhan Omar, Patricia Torres Ray

U.S. House District 6

Republican: Tom Emmer(i), A.J. Kern, Patrick Munro

Democrat: Ian Todd

U.S. House District 7

Republican: Dave Hughes, Matt Prosch

Democrat: Collin Peterson(i)

U.S. House District 8

Republican: Pete Stauber, Harry Robb Welty

Democrat: Kirsten Kennedy, Michelle Lee, Jason Metsa, Joe Radinovich, Soren Christian Sorensen

Independence: Ray Skip Sandman

Governor-lieutenant governor

Republican: Jeff Johnson-Donna Bergstrom, Matt Cruse-Thomas Loeffler, Tim Pawlenty-Michelle Fischbach

Democrat: Tim Holden-James Mellin II, Erin Murphy-Erin Maye-Quade, Ole Saavior-Chris Edman, Lori Swanson-Rick Nolan, Tim Walz-Peggy Flanagan

Libertarian: Josh Welter-Mary O'Connor

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis: Chris Wright-Judith Schwartzbacker

Secretary of state

Republican: John Howe

Democrat: Steve Simon(i)

Independence: William Denney

State auditor

Republican: Pam Myhra

Democrat: Julie Blaha

Libertarian: Chris Dock

Legal Marijuana Now: Michael Ford

Attorney general

Republican: Robert Lessard, Sharon Anderson, Doug Wardlow

Democrat: Keith Ellison, Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom, Matt Pelikan, Mike Rothman

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis: Noah Johnson

Minnesota Legislature

All 134 House seats are on the ballot. The only Senate seat in front of voters is the one vacated by Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach

(i) indicates the candidate is an incumbent