MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Hillary Clinton the heavy favorite to capture Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes, the drama in the state Tuesday may well be found in three competitive congressional races.
Minnesota has voted for Democratic presidential candidates for decades. But other more competitive races can be found in Minneapolis’ suburbs and in northeastern Minnesota. Those campaigns have been fueled by millions of dollars in outside attack ads.
Democrats and Republicans were also fighting it out in legislative districts across the state as the two parties jostled over House and Senate majorities that will shape the next two years of public policy.
Here’s a look at some of the races on the ballot:
Neither Clinton nor Republican nominee Donald Trump paid much attention to Minnesota, long penciled in as a win for Democrats. But Trump and running mate Mike Pence did make a pair of last-minute visits for rallies in Duluth and Minneapolis, while Clinton dispatched a handful of surrogates. Trump’s campaign had just one paid staffer on the ground.
A Clinton win would extend a Democratic voting streak that began after the 1972 election, when Richard Nixon swept most of the nation for his second term.
Though few expected a competitive presidential race statewide, pockets of Minnesota still felt the burn of hard-hitting politics.
That was evident in northeastern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, where Republicans hoped to capitalize on the appeal of Trump’s economic platform in mining towns wracked by a global steel industry downturn. A congressional rematch between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and GOP challenger Stewart Mills — who narrowly lost in 2014 — was one of the most expensive races in the country.
The attack ads were also flowing in southern Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, an open seat vacated by retiring Rep. John Kline, for a race that was widely regarded as a toss-up. Voters in the southeastern suburbs of Minneapolis were barraged with TV spots featuring controversial comments from conservative former radio host Jason Lewis. Angie Craig aimed to use the GOP candidate’s old career against him to expand Minnesota Democrats’ foothold among the state’s eight congressional districts.
The Trump effect was apparent in the western suburbs, too. It prompted a late campaign from Democratic state Sen. Terri Bonoff. She and outside Democratic groups hoped that the brash businessman’s unpopularity in the area would drag down popular incumbent Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, who represents the 3rd District.
The fight for control of the Minnesota Legislature was being fought in roughly two dozen seats scattered across Minnesota.
Republicans were trying to defend a seven-seat House majority they billed as a necessary check against Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate were guarding a six-seat edge and several seats in friendly GOP territory.
Minnesota voters are also being asked to approve a constitutional amendment to hand power for setting the pay of state representatives and senators to an independent body.
Also, voters are being asked to return Associate Justice Natalie Hudson to the Minnesota Supreme Court in her first election test since Dayton appointed her last year to fill the seat of retiring Justice Alan Page.
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