Tag Archives: Minnesota

Senate Victory for Trump-Endorsed Candidate in Connecticut; Omar Barely Survives in Minnesota; Easy Wins in Other Primaries

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 10, 2022

Primary Results

Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy wins in Connecticut.

Connecticut: Trump-Endorsed Candidate Scores Senate Victory — Former Trump ambassadorial appointee Leora Levy, though she failed to win Senate confirmation, easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut. Levy defeated former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides by a significant 51-40 percent share of the statewide vote. She now advances to challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) who is seeking a third term.

Minnesota: Finstad Wins; Omar Barely Survives — Last night, Minnesota former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) appears to have won the open 1st District special congressional election left vacant when Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in mid-February. At this writing, Finstad leads former Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) 51-47 percent with all counties reporting and 99 percent of the expected vote tabulated.

Finstad holds a 4,920-vote lead over Ettinger, which should be more than enough to account for any mailed absentee ballot not included in the overall count. The currently recorded turnout of 118,018 votes is high for a special election. Finstad carried 16 of the district’s 21 southern Minnesota counties.

Finstad also easily won the regular Republican primary in the 1st District after state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) made a run at the nomination despite losing the special election primary back in late May. Following suit on the Democratic side, Ettinger was an easy winner in last night’s regular primary, so the two will again do battle in the regular term for a House seat that has been trending more Republican in recent years.

In the 5th District, suggestions that former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels could give two-term controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) a highly competitive battle proved true. Rep. Omar was renominated in a 50-48 percent squeaker over Samuels, thus guaranteeing her another term in the November election.

Vermont: Scott, Welch, Balint Easily Win — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was a 69 percent winner in his state’s Republican primary. As expected, the Vermont Democratic open Senate primary resulted in a landslide 87 percent-plus victory for at-large Congressman Peter Welch (D-Norwich). He automatically becomes a prohibitive favorite against the new Republican nominee Gerald Malloy, a retired Army officer.

With Rep. Welch running for the state’s open Senate seat, now in strong position to succeed the retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the open al-large House seat will go to the Democratic primary winner, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Burlington). Her 60 percent-plus primary win puts her in position to score a landslide general election victory in November.

Wisconsin: Barnes Confirmed; Michels Defeats Kleefisch — Wisconsin Democratic voters confirmed that Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will be their candidate to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). With his three major opponents dropping out of the race within the past two weeks and all endorsing Barnes as a show of party unity, the lieutenant governor captured 77 percent-plus of the Democratic primary vote. Sen. Johnson topped 83 percent in the Republican primary.

Finally, the lone competitive Wisconsin House primary also resulted as expected. State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) recorded a 39 percent plurality victory over three opponents to win his party’s nomination for the open 3rd District House seat of retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). Sen. Pfaff earned Rep. Kind’s endorsement as his successor.

Republican Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL who held Rep. Kind to a tight 51-49 percent re-election win in 2020, returns in another attempt to capture the seat. Van Orden was unopposed in last night’s election. Winning this seat in November becomes a must for Republican House majority prospects in the fall.

Today’s Primaries; Final Results Close to Complete in Ariz.; Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread in Washington

By Jim Ellis — August 9, 2022

Primaries

Voting Today: Four States Holding Primaries; One Special Election — The final phase of primary season continues today with nomination elections occurring in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. The most competitive statewide races include choosing Senate candidates in Connecticut and governor’s contests in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A total of 22 House races are on the cumulative political card tonight, including three open seats, one each in Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and a special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) in southern Minnesota. With a victory tonight, either former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R) or ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D) will take the seat immediately upon election certification and serve the balance of Hagedorn’s final term.

Primary Results

Former news anchor Kari Lake (R)

Arizona: Final Results Close to Complete — In states that feature large numbers of mail ballots and allow such votes to count even when arriving after election day, the better part of two weeks is needed to finalize the election totals. From Arizona’s Aug. 2 primary, the winners of all races are now statistically projected as the last remaining votes are being tabulated. The latest published figures show 98 percent of the Republican ballots and 92 percent of the Democratic votes recorded. Republican turnout looks to top 815,000, while Democrats are likely to exceed 625,000.

In the general election, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) will face venture capitalist Blake Masters (R), while Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and former news anchor Kari Lake (R) square off in the open governor’s race.

The key House races feature Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) against businessman Jevin Hodge (D); retired Navy SEAL Eli Crane (R) challenging Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona); Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) in a competitive contest against business owner Kelly Cooper, who upset favored Tanya Wheeless in the 4th District Republican primary; and former state Sen. Kirsten Engel (D) and ex-Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive Juan Ciscomani (R) doing battle in the Tucson-anchored open new 6th District.

Washington: Rep. Herrera Beutler Hanging By a Thread — Washington’s laborious vote counting procedure continues from the Aug. 2 all-mail jungle primary, and the biggest development is that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) has not yet secured a general election ballot slot, and may in fact lose to challenger Joe Kent (R).

With just under 96 percent of the 3rd District votes counted, Democrat Marie Perez, with 31.2 percent of the vote, has clinched the first ballot position. Rep. Herrera Beutler barely holds the second qualifying position with 22.6 percent (41,603 votes) nipping Kent’s 22.5 percent (41,346 votes), a margin of just 257 votes with as many as 7,000 votes remaining to be counted. Since 45.1 percent of the voters chose either Herrera Beutler or Kent, it is reasonable to believe approximately 3,000 of those votes will determine the second-place qualifier. Of the remaining votes for either Herrera Beutler or Kemp, the latter man would need 54 to overcome the congresswoman’s edge.

In the 4th District, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) who, like Rep. Herrera Beutler, voted to impeach former President Trump, has clinched a general election ballot position with 25.4 percent, but with as many as 25,000 votes to count. In second place, also clinching a general election slot, is Democratic businessman Doug White. Eliminated in third place is Trump-endorsed former town police chief and 2020 gubernatorial finalist Loren Culp (R).

Turning to the 8th District, 2020 Attorney General qualifier Matt Larkin (R) has clinched second position over King County Councilman Reagan Dunn and 2020 general election qualifier Jesse Jensen. Larkin now advances to the 2022 general election to challenge Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish). This is evolving into a top competitive national congressional campaign. Schrier only secured 47.9 percent in the jungle primary, and the cumulative partisan totals suggest that a very tight general election is coming. The cumulative Democratic vote so far totals 97,341 with 91.3 percent of the expected vote tabulated compared to the cumulative Republican total of 96,572.

House

MN-1: Finstad Leading in Final Special Election Poll — The closing poll in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) was released late last week. The Survey USA poll (July 26-30; 544 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) finds Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad leading ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) by a 46-38 percent margin. Finstad also faces a regular election primary contest with former state Rep. Jeremy Munson whom the former defeated in the May 24 special primary election by just 427 votes.

MN-5: Rep. Omar Facing Serious Primary Challenge — Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels is waging a strong Democratic primary challenge against controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) in an election that will be decided today. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune announced its editorial board endorsement of Samuels and so did the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey (D). In the last week, a Super PAC entitled “Make A Difference” sponsored a $350,000 television buy to support Samuels. This will be a race to watch tonight.

NY-12: Rep. Nadler Leads in New Poll — Emerson College tested the upcoming Democratic-paired incumbent primary between Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). The survey (Aug. 1-2; 1,000 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters; live interview, text & interactive voice response system) finds Rep. Nadler, largely with the overwhelming support of men, leading Rep. Maloney 40-31 percent, with the third candidate, businessman and former congressional candidate Suraj Patel attracting 11 percent support. The New York congressional primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.

New Polls Lean to GOP Leaders in Missouri; Fetterman Expands Lead in Pennsylvania; Getting Close in NJ-1

By Jim Ellis — July 28, 2022

Senate

Scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens (R) trending downward in Missouri.

Missouri: New Polls Pleasing GOP Leaders — The hard-fought Missouri Republican primary is a week away, and three new late July polls are bringing sighs of relief to GOP leaders. It has long been believed that the Missouri race comes off the table if either Attorney General Eric Schmitt or US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) wins the party nomination, but danger looms for the GOP if resigned, scandal-tainted Gov. Eric Greitens were to forge through a crowded field with plurality support.

Three polls were conducted from July 21 through 24, and the results are consistent. The Remington Research Group (July 23-24; 802 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system), the Trafalgar Group (July 22-24; 1,059 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; multiple sample-gathering tactics) and Emerson College, polling for The Hill newspaper (July 21-23; 1,000 likely Missouri Republican and Democratic primary voters, but the number of each is unspecified; multiple sample-gathering tactics), all arrived at similar conclusions. That is, Attorney General Schmitt seems to be developing a secure lead.

RRG sees Schmitt leading Rep. Hartzler and Greitens, 32-25-18 percent. Trafalgar finds the candidates placing in the same order, but a bit closer, 27-24-20 percent. Emerson’s numbers are better for Schmitt, at 33-21-16 percent. For the Democrats, Emerson projects philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, despite being under heavy political attack, as leading Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce 39-35 percent with a 22 percent undecided factor.

Pennsylvania: Fetterman Expands Lead — The Democratic firm Blueprint Polling released a new PA statewide poll (July 19-21; 712 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) and found Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered just before the primary election, expanding his lead to 49-40 percent over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R). The most recent Senate survey prior to Blueprint’s, from Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) for AARP (June 12-19; 1,382 likely Pennsylvania voters), projected a 50-44 percent Fetterman edge. In the governor’s race, Blueprint found Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) topping state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), 51-39 percent, which is also a significant improvement for him over the previous statewide poll.

House

MN-1: Republicans Have Special Trouble — State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake), who lost the special primary election to succeed the late US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) by just 427 votes, confirms he is running to win the regular primary election. This means that former state Rep. Brad Finstad (R), who won the special primary, must continue conducting two separate campaigns through the Aug. 9 election.

In slightly different district configurations, Finstad must separately win the special general election against former Hormel Corporation CEO Jeffrey Ettinger (D), and the nomination for the regular term since the special general is being run concurrently with the regular statewide primary. With Munson competing in the regular election, the confusing scenario of having two different District 1 Republican winners could occur. With the only public post-special primary poll suggesting a dead heat between Finstad and Ettinger, so many mixed messages could yield a Democratic special election upset.

NJ-1: Surprisingly Close — According to a new Grassroots Targeting survey (July 13-19; 625 likely NJ-1 general election voters), New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City) lies barely beyond the polling margin of error in yet another potential warning sign for Democrats.

The GT results find Rep. Norcross topping Republican nominee Claire Gustafson, 49-44 percent, despite the fact that 83 percent of the respondents said they have not heard of the GOP nominee. To underscore matters, Rep. Norcross’ favorability index has dropped to 42:41 percent favorable to unfavorable. This contrasts with his 2020 re-election margin of 62-38 percent, similar to what President Biden recorded in the district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NJ-1 as D+20, so seeing a close poll featuring an unknown Republican with little money from this district is surprising to say the least.

Trump’s Alabama Endorsement;
A Runoff in Oklahoma?

By Jim Ellis — June 15, 2022

Senate

Former Business Council of Alabama CEO Katie Britt

Alabama: Britt Leads, Gets Trump Endorsement — The new JMC Analytics poll (June 6-9; 630 likely Alabama Republican runoff voters; live interview & text) posts former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt to a large 51-39 percent lead over US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). Additionally, former President Trump endorsed Britt, thus coming 180 degrees in this race. Originally, he had publicly supported Rep. Brooks, only to rescind the endorsement prior to the primary.

Britt placed first in the May 24 primary, leading Rep. Brooks and third place finisher Mike Durant, 45-29-23 percent. The Republican runoff is scheduled for June 21.

Oklahoma: Rep. Mullin Continues to Lead — The Amber Integrated firm tested the upcoming Sooner State Republican primary for a host of statewide races (June 6-9; 400 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters; live interview & text). In the US Senate special election, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) continues to lead the Republican field, but will likely fall well short of obtaining majority support on June 28. Should the runoff be necessary, the election date will be Aug. 23.

The AI ballot test shows Rep. Mullin with a 38-19 percent lead over former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. Former EPA Director and ex-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt heads the second tier with six percent. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), ex-chief of staff to retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe, Luke Holland, and dietician Jessica Jean Garrison trail with five, four, and three percent, respectively. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the special general, which will run concurrently with the regular general election. The ultimate winner will serve the remaining four years of Sen. Inhofe’s current term.

In the regular Senate election, incumbent James Lankford (R) holds a huge 68-12 percent lead over pastor Jason Lahmeyer and is headed to win outright on June 28. Sen. Lankford then becomes a prohibitive favorite to win a second full term in November.

Governor

Minnesota: New Survey Suggests Tight General Election — Democratic polling firm Change Research (June 3-5; 1,551 Minnesota general election voters; online) projects a close race between Gov. Tim Walz (D) and Republican Party-endorsed candidate Scott Jensen, a former state senator. The CR polling results find Gov. Walz posting only a two-point, 42-40 percent edge. While Jensen is the endorsed GOP candidate, he does face minor opposition in the Aug. 9 Republican primary.

New York: Gov. Hochul Staked to a Large Lead — Emerson College is reporting the results of its most recent New York statewide survey (June 9-10; 500 likely New York Democratic primary voters; 500 likely New York Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system, text, & online) that finds Gov. Kathy Hochul and US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) leading their respective primary election campaigns.

For the Democrats, Gov. Hochul’s advantage over US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is 63-25-11 percent, as the trio battles for position before the June 28 statewide primary. On the Republican side, Rep. Zeldin records 40 percent support, ahead of former Westchester County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino (25 percent), businessman Harry Wilson (20 percent), and former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudy Giuliani (17 percent). Though Gov. Hochul appears strong for the general election, Republicans feel that they will be more competitive in this election year.

Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Strong in Primary — The Amber Integrated firm also tested the governor’s Republican primary (June 6-9; 400 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters; live interview & text). In this race, incumbent Kevin Stitt posts a 61-8 percent lead over retired police officer Mark Sherwood. Like Sen. Lankford, Gov. Stitt is poised to win re-nomination outright and then become a big favorite in the general election, probably against state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D).

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.

Democrats Back Independent in Utah; House Race News; Kansas Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2022:

Senate

Utah Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin

Utah: Democrats Back Independent — The Utah Democratic nominating convention over last weekend voted with a 57 percent majority not to field a party candidate against Sen. Mike Lee (R), but instead form a coalition to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin.

The move was the first of its kind in Utah political history. The delegates clearly agreed with the argument that the party was better coalescing behind McMullin, a 2016 Independent presidential candidate and former Republican who placed a strong third in the state (21.5 percent) behind Republican Donald Trump (45.5 percent) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (27.5 percent than nominating their own Democratic contender. They understood that supporting Democrat Kael Watson and producing a three-way campaign meant a sure victory for Sen. Lee.


House

FL-5: US Rep. Al Lawson May Challenge Fellow Incumbent — Florida US Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) has difficult choices ahead of him in determining where to seek re-election in the north Florida region. The new Florida congressional map collapses his current district. The Politico publication reports that Lawson is leaning toward challenging Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) in the new 2nd District, an R+16 CD but one that includes Rep. Lawson’s home base of Tallahassee.

MA-4: No Re-Match — Former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who lost the 2020 Democratic primary to current US Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) by just one percentage point, announced that she will not return for a re-match. Therefore, Rep. Auchincloss becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-nomination and re-election. The Massachusetts primary is not until Sept. 6, and the candidate filing deadline is May 31.

MN-1: No Official GOP Endorsement — First Congressional District Republicans convened over the weekend to potentially endorse a candidate in the special election to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Though state Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) attracted 55 percent of the delegate vote, it was not enough to secure the official endorsement. Doing so requires 60 percent. This means we will see an open special election primary on May 24 with no officially endorsed candidate, though Rep. Munson appears to be a clear front runner.

Utah: Two Reps Under-Perform at Convention — US Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), posted only 41 percent of the convention vote on the first ballot, which was just enough to avoid an embarrassing defeat, since he did not also opt to obtain petition signatures. The later rounds pushed him to 45 percent, but the congressman still must win a Republican primary against the man whom he defeated in a 2017 special election and the 2018 GOP primary, — former state Rep. Chris Herrod. Despite Rep. Curtis’ poor showing at the party convention, he is still expected to win the primary and general elections.

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Minnesota Rep. Hagedorn, 59, Dies After Battle With Kidney Cancer

By Jim Ellis

The late Minnesota US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester)

Feb. 22, 2022 — After a long battle with kidney cancer, Minnesota US Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) passed away at the age of 59 on Friday, the third sitting House member to die in office during the current congressional session. Reps. Ron Wright (R-TX) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL) passed away earlier in the year. Additionally, Rep-Elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) died of COVID in late 2020, just before he would have taken office in January of 2021.

The Hagedorn death creates a vacancy in the Minnesota delegation. Gov. Tim Walz (D), who previously represented the now vacant 1st District that stretches the width of Minnesota’s southern border, will call a special election to fill the remainder of the current term.

Under the state’s election law, the special primary will be May 24, 11 weeks prior to the special general, which will run concurrent with the regular 2022 primary election on Aug. 9. The eventual winner will serve the balance of Hagedorn’s final term.

The current 1st District is politically marginal in congressional elections and has flipped back and forth between the two parties after Democrat Tim Penny won the seat in 1982, becoming the first member of his party to represent the district since 1893. Penny, former Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R) and Walz each would represent the district for six terms apiece until Hagedorn was elected.

Conversely, the 1st runs considerably stronger for Republicans at the top of the ticket. Former President Trump carried the seat both in 2016 and 2020. He posted a 53-38 percent margin in his initial election, and a 54-44% spread in his ultimately unsuccessful re-election effort.

Rep. Hagedorn’s two victories, however, were close contests. In his first victorious election, after failing in three previous attempts, the result was a tight 50.1 – 49.7 percent in a 2018 open-seat campaign against former defense department official Dan Feehan. The congressman then scored a 48.6 – 45.5 percent re-election victory again over Feehan.

A special election in this district could well be a strong precursor test for the 2022 midterms since both parties will field strong candidates, heavily contest the outcome, and the winner will likely claim the seat with only a small victory spread.

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