Democrat Mark Dayton won a second term Tuesday as Minnesota governor in the capstone race of his long political career. He defeated Republican challenger Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner who portrayed Dayton as having been around too long and bungling several issues while in office.
U.S. Rep. and former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has been elected to a ninth term in Congress. Ryan defeated Democrat Rob Zerban on Tuesday. It was the second match between the two. Zerban also ran unsuccessfully against Ryan in 2012.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum has won an 8th term in Minnesota’s east metro 4th District. McCollum defeated the Republican candidate, attorney Sharna Wahlgren, and Independence Party candidate Dave Thomas, an Iraq War veteran.
Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen has won a fourth term representing Minnesota’s west suburban 3rd District.
Control of the Minnesota House hinged Tuesday on fewer than two dozen races where loads of money fed fierce contests between the Democrats in charge and the Republicans looking to take over.
Minnesota’s secretary of state is projecting voter turnout of 55 to 60 percent in this midterm election. Mark Ritchie’s projection would be right in line with recent history. Nearly 56 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot four years ago.
The Minnesota secretary of state’s office says more than 189,000 absentee ballots were returned by Tuesday morning. The office says that’s up nearly 50 percent from the absentees accepted in the 2010 election.
For Minnesota’s Independence and Green parties, the goal this Election Day isn’t so much winning. It’s nailing down major-party status. The IP wants to keep it. The Green Party wants to get it back.
Democratic Sen. Al Franken hoped to win a second term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday more comfortably than he won his first. Franken’s victory by a mere 312 votes in a 2008 recount made him an alluring target for Republicans, who hoped to seize control of the Senate.
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The leading candidates for Minnesota’s top offices are spending the final campaign weekend giving pep talks to the party faithful knocking on doors and calling persuadable voters. Democratic Sen. Al Franken told canvassers in a St. Paul suburb that races are “won at the door” and says his 312-vote win six years ago proves nothing can be taken for granted.
In a cramped office tucked behind an old 10-cent general store, the voice of 10-year-old Parker Hall cuts through the hum of non-stop conversation. Fueled by bottles of Dr Pepper and a big bag of candy, he asks if he can count on a vote for GOP candidates. Then another call. And another. He’s at it for hours.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican nominee Jeff Johnson ended their series of debates Friday much like they began, with the incumbent hailing big-picture successes and his rival saying too many things went awry over the past four years.