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With the Minnesota Primary fast approaching on Tuesday, here's a rundown of the competitive races.

This content originally appeared on LeftMN as three separate posts; congressional preview, state senate preview and state house preview. In the interest of not clogging up the diary sidebar, those three posts have been condensed into this one single post.

Also, I have a Minnesota Primary Prediction contest going, stop by and submit your guesses for a chance to win a coveted LeftMN tshirt.

The Congressional Primaries

Congressional District 1

Mike Parry v. Allen Quist

As most of you probably remember, this race was necessitated by the district Republican endorsing convention's failure to elect a candidate after 24 ballots. When you consider who they had to choose from though, can you blame them for not wanting to pick one?

Since then, and really before as well, both candidates have had rather anemic fundraising, except for the fact that Allen Quist has broken off a chunk of his personal fortune to bankroll his campaign.

Mike Parry has raised about three times as much money as Quist in individual contributions though, which would normally make you think he had this thing in the bag.

But given Parry's recent legislative committee grandstanding and even more recent off-the-reservation comments about Mark Dayton, it seems like he's trying everything he can to turn around what appears to be a sinking ship of a campaign.

Well, that's Governor Dayton's take on it at least, and he's a gentleman who knows a thing or two about political campaigns.

Congressional District 8

Jeff Anderson v. Tarryl Clark v. Rick Nolan

Note: The original version of this write-up was written before Tarryl went on the attack against Nolan. See this post for a more detailed analysis of that development.

This races has been trapped in the same dynamic essentially since it started. Jeff Anderson is the hometown boy who can't quite close the deal, Rick Nolan is playing the sort of Roy Hobbs part, and Tarryl Clark is the rainmaker, showering the district with advertising money.

It's played out to form as well with Nolan getting the DFL endorsement, Anderson getting the endorsement's of seemingly every notable Iron range politician, and Clark raising way more money than the two of them combined.

These last few weeks they've been rolling out their final big endorsements, Clark got the big dog to cut an ad for her, and Nolan got the Minnesota version of the big dog to endorse him, along with a bunch of other old white dudes.

Nolan seems to have the edge, but that's only because both Clark and Anderson's paths to victory involve the other two candidates splitting the vote enough for 38%-35% to be enough.

But both Clark and Anderson have conceivable paths to victory nonetheless. I'm also not convinced that second place is Rick Nolan's floor, as I've heard some suggest.

I think it's conceivable, if unlikely, that any of the three candidates could end up in first, second or third. But it's also conceivable that Rick Nolan approaches 50%.

This has been a rather interesting race for it's lack of things happening. All three candidates have just kind of slogged along, playing into the stereotypes that were hastily constructed upon each of their initial entrances into the race.

There was no big name Iron Ranger who came into the race and immediately cleared the field and such candidates surely exist. But they demurred.

2008 wasn't that long ago, but it seems like a totally different era and the days of a DFLer racking up 65%+ margins in congressional district eight are over. The district wasn't that strongly DFL to begin with and seems to be moving in the GOP's direction.

That's why it's important to win this seat now, before Cravaack can get comfortable.

The Real Senate Primary Races

SD1 – GOP Primary

Steve Nordhagen v. Jual Carlson

While Jual Carlson is a perennial candidate at this point, that didn’t stop him from spending more than twice as much as his GOP endorsed rival Steve Nordhagen this year. And while Nordhagen still has to be considered the favorite, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carlson make a decent showing.

That said, I don’t throw around the “perennial candidate” label lightly, but it’s a label that certainly applies to Carlson and it’s very rare for such a candidate to actually win.

SD10 – DFL Primary

Taylor Stevenson v. Anne Marcotte

DFL endorsed candidate (and 2010 Senate nominee) Taylor Stevenson raised more money and has more cash on hand, but has spent about the same as his primary opponent, Atkin County Commissioner Anne Marcotte.

This race is tough to handicap, Stevenson appears to be the favorite, but I’m not sure it’s a large advantage.

SD17 – DFL Primary

Lyle Koenen v. Larry Rice

This will be Senator Lyle Koenen's second primary election battle this year, he won a special election and the primary the preceded it, for the district 20 senate seat in April.

Larry Rice was the DFL nominee against Joe Gimse in 2010 and looks poised to face him again this cycle as he's crushed Koenen in fundraising so far, raising twice as much as the now incumbent Senator.

The disparity is even greater in individual contributions, a measure that gives a little bit of insight into the level of enthusiasm a candidate can generate. Given that Larry Rice has raised three times more in individual contributions, it appears as though he's generating more support right now.

If I was a betting man (who are we kidding, I am most certainly a betting man) my money right now would be on Larry Rice.

SD33 – GOP Primary

Connie Doepke v. David Osmek

While Representative Connie Doepke has raised a lot more than her opponent David Osmek, he has raised enough to not completely get blown out of the water. He’s also the party endorsed candidate, so he’s got that going for him.

It’s hard for me not to see Osmek not being competitive in the primary and would even go so far as to say that he’s probably a coin flip to win.

SD47 – GOP Primary

Julianne Ortman v. Bruce Schwichtenberg

Bruce Schwichtenberg has raised some money, but not even close to enough to be competitive with a fundraising machine like Julianne Ortman who should win the nomination easily.

SD57 – DFL Primary

Greg Clausen v. Mike Germain

Former Rosemount High School Principal Greg Clausen is the DFL endorsed candidate in this race and has raised and spent more than twice that of his opponent, 2010 SD37 DFL nominee Mike Germain whose principal source of campaign money has come from a $5,000 personal loan.

Clausen is clearly the favorite.

SD67 – DFL Primary

Foung Hawj v. Tom Dimond v. Robert Humphrey

The second annual SD67 primary scrum will be less convoluted than in 2010, when nine (!) candidates were involved, with the winning candidate, retiring Senator John Harrington getting 31%.

Foung Hawj was in that race too, finishing lumped together with five other candidates at around 10%. The vote totals of the four Hmong candidates in that race add up to over 40%, which should be plenty to win in a three way contest if Hawj can consolidate those voters.

There’s plenty of evidence that he has done that, as he’s destroying his opponents in fundraising, raising almost twice as much as Tom Dimond and Robert Humphrey combined. Given that, I would be surprised if Hawj doesn’t surpass 50% of the vote and win easily.

The Real House Primary Races

2B - GOP Primary

David Collins v. Steve Green

Businessman Steve Green is the GOP endorsed candidate in this race. David Collins, the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Director, is the insurgent challenger. An insurgent challenger who is also endorsed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the NRA.

David Collins did not seek the endorsement though, so he is not going back on any promises made about abiding, which always helps. It also helps when you rake in almost three times as much in individual contributions as your opponent.

We'll see how much the GOP party endorsement is worth in district 2B, as Collins looks to be the favorite to win this one. The only thing Steve Green has going for him is the party endorsement, but in a year when the party has no money, is the endorsement really worth anything?

4A - DFL Primary

Sue Wiger v. Ben Lien

Ben Lien is the DFL endorsed candidate, Sue Wiger, stop me if you've heard this before, is the insurgent challenger (okay, I'm done with that motif). Ben Lien works for a family services center. Sue Wiger is the executive director of the Bluestem Center for the Arts.

They've raised about the same amount in individual contributions, and in a case with both candidates raising about the same, the edge probably goes to the candidate with the party endorsement, meaning Ben Lien is probably the favorite.

06B - DFL Primary

Lorrie Janatopoulos v. Jason Metsa

This race is for the DFL nomination for Tom Rukavina's old seat. Jason Metsa missed getting the DFL endorsement at the district convention that followed his resignation announcement by a single vote.

This race has some interesting contours to it, with Metsa getting most of the union support and Janatopoulos getting most of the activist support. Metsa is endorsed by Tom Rukavina, Janatopoulos is endorsed by Ida Rukavina.

If you're interested in finding out more on the particulars, check out this breakdown by Aaron Brown.

On the fundraising front Jason Metsa has raised more overall and in individual contributions and he's spent more, but Janatopoulus hasn't gotten blown out in any of those categories.

If forced to pick, I guess I'd say Metsa is the favorite, but I think it's pretty close to a coin flip.

10B - DFL Primary

Joe Radinovich v. David Schaaf

Joe Radinovich works for the American Federation of Government Employees and is the DFL endorsed candidate. David Schaaf is a former state Senator who most recently served as the East Bethel city administrator.

This article from goes through Schaaf's whole back story in the context of discussing his ascension to the city administrator's job.

Let's just say that after reading the article, I'm a bit surprised he would decide to challenge an endorsed candidate for election, but than again, he has been in and out of politics his whole life.

He's gotten destroyed by Radinovich in fundraising though, and it doesn't seem likely that he can pull this one out. It's a lot tougher to run against a young go-getter with the party endorsement than to wait in city hall till the filing deadline is almost up and get yourself a city council seat.

11A - DFL Primary

Bruce Ahlgren v. Mike Sundin

Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren is challenging DFL endorsed candidate Mike Sundin. Sundin won the endorsement over three other candidates, none of whom was Bruce Ahlgren.

While Sundin has raised almost twice as much overall money, he's actually raised slightly less in individual contributions than Ahlgren.

This race will be another one that tests the value of the party endorsement.

11B - DFL Primary

Tim Faust v. Nathan Johnson

Former legislator Tim Faust is running against city planner Nathan Johnson. This race features no party endorsed candidate. In that case you might suspect that the veteran legislator would be able to marshal superior financial resources, if you guessed this though, you would be wrong.

The newcomer Johnson has managed to raise more money both in individual contributions and overall. He's also been forced to spend more though, as he faces a name recognition gap.

This confluence of information leads me to suspect that while Johnson may be the slight favorite, this thing could go either way.

11B - GOP Primary

Mitch Pangerl v. Ben Wiener

And the winner of the above race will face the winner of this one, also suffering from a case of no-party-endorsementitus. In this case it's due to the last minute retirement (the day before the filing deadline) of incumbent legislator Roger Crawford for health reasons.

Pine County Commissioner Mitch Pangerl faces farmer and businessman Ben Wiener. Pangerl is leading in fundraising across the board and as a county-wide elected official would seem to have the edge.

17B - DFL Primary

Jessica Rohloff v. Mary Sawatzky

Mary Sawatzky is the DFL endorsed candidate and is a Special Ed teacher at Willmar Middle School and President of the local teachers union.

Jessica Rohloff, a resource director for Habitat for Humanity, is challenging the DFL endorsed candidate in the primary because "the hurried schedule created by redistricting did not allow for the time needed."

Sawatzky has raised more than Rohloff overall, but they've raised about the same amount in individual contributions.

The edge in this race probably goes to Sawatzky, simply because she has the endorsement, and in a primary with no big top of the ticket race driving turnout, that may be what puts her over the top.

33B - GOP Primary

Steve Smith v. Cindy Pugh

This is the main event of the legislative primaries on the GOP side. Steve Smith is in his eleventh term in the house, having first been elected in 1990.

The twist here is that the incumbent legislator Smith, is facing the GOP endorsed candidate and southwest metro tea party founder, Cindy Pugh.

And not only has she received the endorsement of house district 33B Republicans, she also received the very esteemed endorsement of one Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove.

Given that the aformentioned Kurt Zellers, who's neck is incapable of being stuck out, endorsed her, I've got to think that she's got this thing in the bag.

43A - DFL Primary

Peter Fischer v. Bob Hill

In this race we have a case of two candidates agreeing to abide by the endorsement, one of those candidates winning said endorsement (Peter Fischer) and then the other candidate (Bob Hill) deciding that instead of abiding by the endorsement, he meant to say, screw your endorsement.

Not only that, apparently struggling to raise money Bob Hill then went out and loaned himself $25,000 for the race. So while Peter Fischer raised more than twice as much in individual contributions, Bob Hill has raised almost three times as much overall.

The rub? He's got $793 in the bank right now, with over $41,000 of campaign debt!

Peter Fischer should win this one.

59B - DFL Primary

Raymond Dehn v. Terra Cole v. Ian Alexander

This is an interesting race in that there are three candidates who are all raising and spending a good amount of money.

Lawyer and former Republican, Ian Alexander, leads the way with over $18k in individual contributions. Raymond Dehn, an architect, raised almost $13k and Terra Cole, a community organizer, raised almost $11k.

It's tempting to give the edge to Alexander, but in a real live three way race it's really anybody's to win.

All The Senate Primary Races

The embedded google spreadsheets don't seem to be working on the kos, so here are some links.

DFL Senate Primaries
GOP Senate Primaries
DFL House Primaries
GOP House Primaries

Note: For a candidate who's cells contain an "X" they don't have a campaign committee registered with the CFB. In others words, they are not serious candidates. Those who's cells contain a "N/A" they have a committee registered, but there are no fundraising reports yet posted to the CFB site.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So you don't think (0+ / 0-)

    that any of the other Congressional district races are competitive?  Or perhaps I'm reading your posts wrong.

  •  Coments, notes, etc. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TonyAngelo, James Allen, MichaelNY

    Thank you for doing this diary. This is a great resource for people trying to get a feel for what to expect on primary Tuesday. Even though the primary in Minnesota is unexciting as most of the nominees are determined with the caucuses and conventions, and there is a general gentleman's agreement for politicians to honor the party's official support in the primary.

    Here are a few of my personal thoughts on the diary.

    MN-1 (R). For people that aren't familiar with Parry or Quist, these two people REALLY don't like eachother. Parry is a Paulbot who won in 2010, and has done a lot of running his mouth in his 1+ years in the legislature. Quist on the other hand was tea flavored before tea was cool. He served for a few years in the legislature back in the early 80s. He then decided to mount a quixotic primary against one of the most popular governors in Minnesota history, Arne Carlson. He has attempted to run for higher office a few more times since 1994, including a 5-point loss to Tim Walz in 2010.

    MN-8 (D). This race I have gone off on my fair share of tirades on. I give Nolan about a 90% chance of winning the primary. 9% for Anderson, and a combined 1% chance of Clark winning/zombie Apocalypse/real Apocalypse/rapture occurring between now and Tuesday.

    SD-17 (D). I disagree about the state of this race. Legislative fundraising totals are generally small, so even marginal differences in terms of cash can amount 3, or 4 or 5 to 1 margins. Koenen I believe will win this primary.

    SD-33 (R). This primary is not out of scandal or anything. It is simply a case of a conservative legislator being primaried by an even MORE conservative challenger.

    SD-47 (R). See district 33, but instead of being a back bencher, Juile Ortmann is the Deputy Majority Leader. Strange times we live in.

    HD-6D (D). There is a third candidate in the race, Dave Meyer. But he is unlikely to seriously contend against the other two.

    HD-33B (R). You see this as the main event over the senate primaries in 33 and 47? I agree they are all in the same paragraph, but this one seems less important, as it is in the lower chamber.

    HD-43B (D). I hate it when politicians reneg on their promises to abide by the endorsement. I am glad to see Hill lose his shirt thumbing his nose at the system and lying through his teeth.

    HD-59B (D). This is a weird primary. As Alexander is the only black candidate in a district that has more blacks in it than any other in the state. He also was a Republican until this year, and actively campaigned against Obama in 08.

    •  Thanks for the notes, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I wrote this for an MN audience and didn't adapt if for the more non-MN kos audience, so thanks for filing in the gaps.

      A few things; Walz beat Randy Demmer in 2010. Quist's last try for office was an aborted Gubernatorial run in 1998.

      Yes, I may have overstated Clark's chances, especially given her recent ad roll-out.

      I guess I see 33B as the main event because House Speaker Zellers endorsed Pugh against the incumbent Smith. But, like you said, there really is no main event.

      And in 59B Terra Cole is black. In a way I think that gives Dehn a bit of an edge, if Alexander and Cole split the black vote.

    •  I hope that everything you say about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Nolan is true.

      Lewis & Clark Law class of 2015

      by James Allen on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:27:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Morrie Lanning is retiring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He’s the Republican state rep from Moorhead (previously the Mayor of Moorhead) who put together the bill for the new Vikings football stadium. Moorhead was in 9A, but with redistricting it’s now called 4A.

    One of the three Republicans hoping to win the primary and maybe replace him is a guy called Ken Lucier, a retired postal worker who is truly awful. Back in 2010, the City Council was considering a domestic partner registry, so if one member of a gay couple had benefits at work, his or her partner could be included in the plan. From this article, Moorhead votes down domestic partner registry:

    But perhaps the most incendiary commentary came from Moorhead resident Ken Lucier. Stepping up to the microphone in a shirt that read “Pray! Vote! Pray!,” he said, “If you want to have a man-man relationship or a woman-woman relationship you can have that. We may not want you living next to us, but you can do what you want. You have the liberty to do that.”

    “I’m concerned that these nontraditional relationships, abnormal relationships… Abnormal is queer,” Lucier continued. “I don’t like queer relationships. Do you want the city of Moorhead to be known as a queer community?”

    Lucier (I call him Lucifer) seems to have more lawn signs up than the other Republicans. I really don’t like him. I doubt the other Republicans will be any better, however. I'll be voting in the Democratic primary for Ben Lien.

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:06:45 PM PDT

    •  I have a hard time believing (0+ / 0-)

      That anyone NOT named Morrie Lanning would be able to hold down a House district that is essentially coterminous with Moorhead, Minnesota. Lanning is an institution there, having been in politics tehre since the Vietnam era.

  •  Notable Iron Range politicians have endorsed Nolan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    including former US Rep. Jim Oberstar, State Sen Tom Bakk, State Rep. David Dill, State Rep and Iron Range Delegation Chair Tom Anzelc, former State Rep and current IRRRB member Joe Begich, former State Sen George Perpich

  •  Since y'all follow local politics more than I do (0+ / 0-)

    What would you say are the most likely 4 senate and 6 house seats to flip to return control back to the Dems?

    Despite the fact that the DFL dominated the legislature for so long, it doesn't seem like there are many obviously flippable seats, but moreso a lot of rural seats that were waiting for a tidal wave election to finally be flipped.

    Looking at the map, it looks like most of the pickups in the Senate would have to come from SE Minnesota and the inner-ring burbs. Suburban districts like 36, 37, 42, and 53 (where I live) all look competitive.

    In the SE I'd say 20, 24, 25, 26, and 28 should all be competitive. Rochester needs to break for the Dems already.

    Anyway, I'm not sure how many seats the DFL lost to redistricting, but I'm sure it's a few with the population losses in the core cities, so it looks like less than 50/50 odds that they'll take back the legislature.

    Am I close?

    •  I did a seat by seat diary about this (0+ / 0-)

      I won't be a dick and hyper link them in another diary, but such information has been compiled here. It wasn't just Democrats that lost seats in redistricting. the entire outstate map was greatly changed. But Minneapolis and St. Paul each lost a full senate seat. The most likely to flip, as I had speculated are along the Mississippi River near the Iowa border, In the Rochester area, as well as suburban seats in the south and east metro. Also, Morrie Lanning's seat is almost certain to flip in Moorhead, but that will be offset by a near certain loss of Larry Hosch's seat, due to his untimely retirement at the age of 34.

      I put the odds at taking the senate at about 90%, and the House at about 75%.

      •  Those are quite high odds (0+ / 0-)

        I'm more conservative I guess and put both houses at about a coin flip to switch.

        Dems most gettable Senate seats (names aren't necessarily incumbents, district in parenthesis):

        Jermey Miller (28)
        John Carlson (5)
        April King (42)
        Ted Daley (51)
        Keith Downey (49)
        John Pederson (14)
        Ted Lillie (53)
        Pam Wolf (37)
        Joe Gimse (17)
        Benjamin Kruse (36)

        House seats:

        Derrick Lehrke (54A)
        Rich Murray (27A)
        *Primary (04A)
        Stacey Stout (43A)
        Brian Wermerskirchen (20B)
        Diane Anderson (51A)
        King Banaian (14B)
        Mandy Benz (37A)
        Carolyn McElfatrick (05B)
        Larry Howes (05A)

        •  We look at this a little differently (0+ / 0-)

          McElfatrick I didn't even count as a pickup as she is facing off against incumbent DFLer Tom Anzelc, so that isn't a pickup at all.

          Also, how does that list not have Morrie Lanning's seat as the #1 pickup in the house? Obama and Klobuchar will likely win this district 2:1 and 3:1 respectively, and there really are no other Republicans in the city limits Moorhead that isn't named Morrie Lanning. That seat is a 99.9% flip.

          With the way the house seats were redrawn, and the copious amount of retirements, there are going to be a TON of freshman coming into St. Paul in January.

          •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

            I see that you called it 4a with a primary next to an asterisk. I missed that one. My oversight, as Lanning currently represents 9a.

            •  Yea, (0+ / 0-)

              the GOP candidate for that race is subject to a primary, I could have made that less confusing I suppose.

              This rating order is entirely based on partisan numbers and does not take the candidates into account at all, so take it for what it's worth.

              Also, as far as the Anzelc/McElfatrick thing, I wasn't calling it a pick-up, but at the same time if she wins the DFL loses a seat, right?

              So we need to beat her just as much as we need to take over currently held GOP seats.

              •  I used to work for Tom Anzelc (0+ / 0-)

                I used to be his field director. his campaign manager,Aaron Brown, used to work under me. believe me when I tell you he is in no danger in an Itasca County district against McElfatrick.

                •  Aaron wasn't quite as certain, (0+ / 0-)

                  but he certainly shared your general outlook.

                  I'm not saying you or Aaron are wrong, I'm sure the two of you know a heck of a lot more about that part of the state.

                  But she did raise more individual contributions than Anzelc, so while she may be unlikely to win, it's certainly not out of the question that she could. At least in my view.

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