Vying for the hot seat: Minnesota primary and general elections overview

Vying for the hot seat

Minnesota’s most talked about race this election season is the hotly contested Fifth Congressional District race. With last-minute additions, drop-outs and historical bids, the race has some big names in Minnesota politics running for the seat. Keith Ellison (DFL), the incumbent, opting to run for state attorney general also brought attention to the race.

There is a lot of focus on congressional races across the country as it gives Democrats a chance to flip the House from Republican to Democratic control. Of the 435 congressional districts in the country, Minnesota is home to eight of them. The winners of these seats will represent their districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. With all eight seats being up for election, there’s no shortage of in-state excitement.

Currently, there are five DFLers and three Republicans holding these seats. Tops in reader discussions has been the Fifth Congressional District race, which includes Minneapolis.

Aside from the demographics, this race is also important because whoever wins will represent the most diverse district in Minnesota. While Whites make up 81 percent of the total state population, District Five contains the highest percentage of people of color – 30 percent – of any of the state’s congressional districts. It also has the most millennials of any district in the state.

The Fifth District candidates


Jamal Abdulahi
The Somali immigrant wants to continue to serve his community by going to Washington to protect immigrants from Donald Trump.


Frank Drake
Ran as a Republican and lost to Ellison in this same election in 2016. The Edina resident decided to file as a DFL candidate and give it another shot. He wants lower taxes and to make Minneapolis an “oasis of commerce.”

Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Former DFL-endorsed gubernatorial candidate and formerly elected as the second woman to be the DFL Speaker of the House. She wants voters to know that she if elected, she will stand up to Donald Trump like she did to Tim Pawlenty when serving as speaker.


Ilhan Omar (Endorsed)
The first Somali-American woman elected to a legislature says if elected she would carry on Ellison’s legacy as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House. She wants to address issues ranging from economic justice to infrastructure and immigration and criminal justice reform.


Patricia Torres Ray
The first Latina elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2006 has represented District 63 ever since. The Colombia native’s focus will include immigration policy as well protecting the environment and closing the state’s disparity gaps.


Bob Carney
Identified officially on the list of candidates as Bob “Again” Carney, Jr., he wants to preserve the union and work to impeach Donald Trump.


Christopher William Chamberlin
First announced his run for governor, then U.S. Senate, but finally decided to run in the CD5 election. Some of his top goals are to support families and work with Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Jennifer Zielinski (Endorsed)
Has worked as a Republican activist for over 10 years. Her top goals are to grow the economy, continue the Trump tax cuts, and stand up for First and Second Amendment rights.



Elections #101: Minnesota primary and general elections

Minnesota election season is underway and there’s a lot at stake. In the coming months, voters are going to be given a lot of information to unpack. If you’re not privy to the process, it can get confusing. So, we’ve put together a few tips to help.

First up, are the Minnesota primaries, which take place Tues., Aug. 14. This election is what helps candidates secure their party placement on the November ballots.

The primaries are actually the second step in the elections process. Each party held a convention in June nominating candidates to receive an endorsement to represent their respective parties in the November general elections. In order to secure a party endorsement, a candidate must receive 60 percent of party delegates’ votes.

Since same-party candidates can still run, the primary is held as an intra-party election for the general public to determine who will definitively represent the DFL and Republican parties in the November general election.

The general elections take place Tues., Nov. 6. From now until then, voters will have to sift through myriad races all taking place at the same time – from Governor to State House of Representatives to the U.S. Congress.

Here is a quick breakdown on each race:


Voters will be able to vote on all 134 of the seats in State House of Representatives, as well as Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Auditor.


With Governor Dayton retiring after two terms, it is anyone’s game.

DFL candidates: Erin Murphy (endorsed), Tim Walz, Lori Swanson, Ole Savior, Tim Holden

Republican candidates: Jeff Johnson (endorsed), Tim Pawlenty, Mathew Kruse


Attorney General

DFL candidates: Matt Pelikan (endorsed), Debra Hilstrom, Keith Ellison, Mike Rothman, Tom Foley

Republican candidates: Doug Wardlow (endorsed), Robert Lessard


Secretary of State

DFL candidates: Steve Simon (incumbent, endorsed)

Republican candidates: John Howe (endorsed)


State Auditor

DFL candidates: Julie Blaha (endorsed)

Republican candidates: Pam Myhra (endorsed)

For a complete list of all 134 house seats for the major parties, visit dflhouse.com/candidates and mngop.com/state-house.


The two Senate seats in Minnesota are both currently held by DFLers. Normally, there would only be one senate seat up for election. But, because of Al Franken’s resignation amidst sexual misconduct allegations, his seat is on the ballot two years earlier than planned. Gov. Dayton appointed Former Lieut. Gov. Tina Smith to serve in the interim after Franken’s resignation.

Senate Class 1

DFL candidates: Amy Klobuchar (incumbent, endorsed), Stephen Emery, Steve Carlson, David Robert Groves, Leonard Richards

Republican candidates: Jim Newberger (endorsed), Merill Anderson, Rae Hart Anderson


Senate Class 2

DFL candidates: Tina Smith (incumbent, endorsed), Nick Leonard, Richard Painter, Ali Chehem Ali, Gregg Iverson, Christopher L Seymore

Republican candidates: Karin Housley, Nikolay Bey, Bob Anderson


Congressional District 1

DFL candidates: Jim Hagedorn (Endorsed), Carla Nelson, Andrew Candler, Steve Williams/

Republican candidates: Dan Feehan (endorsed), Colin Minehart


Congressional District 2

DFL candidates: Angie Craig (endorsed).

Republican candidates: Jason Lewis (incumbent, endorsed)


Congressional District 3

DFL candidates: Dean Phillips (endorsed), Cole Young.

Republican candidates: Erik Paulsen (incumbent, endorsed)


Congressional District 4

DFL candidates: Betty McCollum (incumbent, endorsed), Muad Hassan, Reid Rossell

Republican candidates: Greg Ryan (endorsed)


Congressional District 5

DFL candidates: Jamal Abdulahi, Margaret Anderson, Kelliher, Ilhan Omar (Endorsed) Patricia Torres, Ray Jennifer Zielinski.

Republican candidates: Bob Carney, Christopher William Chamberlin, Jennifer Zielinski (Endorsed)


Congressional District 6

DFL candidates: Ian Todd (endorsed).

Republican candidates: Tony Emmer (incumbent, endorsed), AJ Kern, Patrick Munro


Congressional District 7

DFL candidates: Collin Peterson (incumbent, endorsed).

Republican candidates: David Hughes (endorsed), Matt Prosch


Congressional District 8

DFL candidates: Kirsten Hagen Kennedy, Joe Radinovich, Michelle Lee, Jason Metsa, Soren Christian Sorenson.

Republican candidates: Pete Stauber (endorsed), Harry Robb Welty



The first step for voting is registering. You can either register online or in person on election day. To be eligible to vote you must be 18 on the day of elections, a U.S. Citizen and a resident of Minnesota for at least 20 days.

In order to register, you will need a Minnesota Driver’s License or ID Card, or the last four digits of your social security number. If you do not have any of these you can fill out a paper application. Registration applications are available in over 10 languages from Spanish to Somali, Russian and S’gaw Karen.

Once you are registered and ready to vote, you can go to your polling place and vote between 7 am to 8 pm. If you don’t know where to vote in your area, visit https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us

To vote absentee you don’t need to register before you apply to vote, but you do need to register before submitting your ballot. All ballots must be received by Aug. 14 to be counted in the primaries. If you want to skip out on the primaries and only vote in the general election, your ballot must be mailed in by Nov. 4. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. You will need a registered Minnesota voter or notary public to sign your absentee ballot for it to be valid.

Visit http://bit.ly/mnvote for more information and details.