MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The primary election cleared up some intriguing questions and immediately set up some new ones. Before Minnesota digs in for the 12-week slog to November, here’s a quick rundown of the highlights in Tuesday’s races:
THEN THERE WAS ONE
The sharp elbows never came out in the Republican governor primary, and in the end voters settled on reputed nice guy Jeff Johnson to try to make Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton a one-termer. Johnson seemed a bit more ready to bring the fight to Dayton over the next three months, allowing that while Dayton is “a good man” he’s also “in over his head.” Dayton was eager to engage, saying Monday he couldn’t wait to start to go after a single opponent’s record instead of trying to pick from four.
CAN MCFADDEN GET NOTICED?
U.S. Sen. Al Franken is No. 1A on the list of Democrats that Republicans would love to take down. Investment banker Mike McFadden’s early case to be the guy was his ability to match Franken in a big-bucks race, but can he? The argument helped pave the way for his win Tuesday night, but now he’ll need some outside help. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rattled its checkbook for McFadden even before the election certified his place in November, but he’s likely to need some other deep pockets.
THREE UPSETS THAT WEREN’T … AND ONE THAT WAS
State Rep. Phyllis Kahn was supposed to be in trouble Tuesday night, except she wasn’t, handling an intriguing candidacy from Somali-American activist Mohamud Noor fairly comfortably. High-ranking House Republican Jenifer Loon worried that her support for gay marriage might cost her her seat — but it wasn’t close. And Matt Entenza burned more than $600,000 of his own money without even getting in the same zip code as state Auditor Rebecca Otto. But there was one notable upset Tuesday night, in southern Minnesota, where Jim Hagedorn undid GOP endorsee Aaron Miller in a race he said he ran only because he thought Miller wasn’t working hard enough.
EMMER TO CONGRESS?
Republican Tom Emmer’s interlude away from elected office could end soon. Emmer easily won the primary for retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann’s seat. He’ll be heavily favored to go to Washington in January.
THOSE DISMAL TURNOUT PROJECTIONS WERE RIGHT
The election wizards from the secretary of state projected turnout of 10 to 15 percent. The not-quite-final numbers suggested it would be closer to 10 percent. Minnesotans can try in November to reaffirm their coveted reputation as one of the perennial top states for voter participation.
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