MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So its mid-August and you’re focused on the Olympics, maybe some back-to-school shopping and the State Fair is right around the corner. You may not realize that there is a major political event happening this week.

Minnesota’s state primary is on Tuesday. In most of the state, there has not been a lot of interest in the primary, but in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, there is a fierce three-way race to see who will run against incumbent Congressman Chip Cravaack.

When it comes to congressional races, incumbents win 90 percent of the time. But two years ago, in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District in Northeastern Minnesota, the longtime DFL incumbent Jim Oberstar lost to first-time candidate Republican Chip Cravaack.

But because the district is traditionally Democratic, Cravaack is seen as one of the most vulnerable congressional incumbents in the country. On Tuesday, three candidates are facing each other in the primary for the chance to run against him.

They are former Duluth City Council Member Jeff Anderson, former State Sen. Tarryl Clark and former Congressman Rick Nolan. Political Analyst Katherine Pearson appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning. She said the primary is too close to call.

“What we have seen is a pretty big battle,” Pearson said. “The candidates have criticized Representative Cravaack but they have also begun to criticize one another. We have also seen a lot of outside money — both by the DFL in support of Nolan but we have also seen a lot of outside money in support of Clark, as well. So this does have the potential to be a high turnout primary.”

Turnout in the rest of the state is expected to be very low — with the exception of another primary race that is too close to call. And that is in Minnesota’s first Congressional District in southeastern Minnesota.

There, two Republicans — former State Rep. Allen Quist is facing State Sen. Mike Parry, for the chance to run against incumbent DFL Congressman Tim Walz.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.


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