Minnesota GOP hopes for attorney general, Congress face primary challenges

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MINNEAPOLIS (TSTIME) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen has escaped any serious challenge within the GOP ranks, but other party-backed candidates for attorney general and the southern Minnesota congressional seat vacated by the Death of US Representative Jim Hagedorn will have hurdles to jump in the state’s August 9 primaries.

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who was considering a primary race but is recovering from injuries he sustained in a car crash, cleared the way for Jensen when he failed to file a case at the Secretary of State’s office before the 5 p.m. TSTIME on Tuesday. Jensen won the GOP endorsement at the party’s state convention last month.

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Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz got a boost when former broadcast personality Cory Hepola, who was backed by Andrew Yang’s Forward Party, also failed to file before the date. limit. Democratic strategists feared Hepola would serve as a spoiler and siphon off votes from Walz in the November election. Hepola said in a statement that Minnesota still needs a strong third “to represent the majority in the middle.”

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While neither Jensen nor Walz will face more than token primary opposition, two small pro-marijuana parties that have major party status in Minnesota will have candidates on the November ballot who could be factors if they win. acts a close race.

In the Attorney General race, Doug Wardlow, general counsel for MyPillow, who was the losing GOP nominee in 2018, implemented his plan to challenge endorsed nominee Jim Schultz, despite calls from party leaders for him to honors its prior commitment to honor the state convention choice. Wardlow is an ally of MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, a leading proponent of bogus accusations that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.

Wardlow said in a statement that only he could beat incumbent Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison.

But Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann said in a statement that Wardlow had broken his word “and instead revealed himself to be an unabashed politician driven solely by his personal ambitions.” Doug Wardlow has an infamous record of unsuccessful presidential candidacies. With this futile primary challenge, he will add one more loss to his record.

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In the Republican-leaning 1st Congressional District race, state Rep. Jeremy Munson and farm lawyer Matt Benda reignited their efforts to win the seat vacated by Hagedorn’s death from cancer in February, in a process that voters may find confusing.

Munson and Benda lost the special GOP primary last week to former USDA official Brad Finstad. Finstad will face the winner of the special Democratic primary, former Hormel Foods chief executive Jeff Ettinger, in a special general election on Aug. 9 to complete the remainder of the late congressman’s term, which ends in January.

But Munson, who is one of the founders of a far-right faction among Minnesota House Republicans, and Benda will get another shot on the same day in the regular primary election, which will select candidates to fill the seat. at the next Congress. This creates a theoretical possibility in which a man is elected on August 9 to complete Hagedorn’s term, but 1st District voters send someone else to Congress in the November general election. Ettinger faces only token opposition in the regular primary.

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Hann said in a separate statement that he was “strongly disappointed” to see Benda and Munson’s record, given that 1st District Republicans overwhelmingly endorsed Finstad at a special meeting Thursday. Hann said Benda and Munson, as former local party leaders, should have had more respect for the party’s endorsement.

Two Democratic congressmen from Minnesota will face well-funded but long-winded primary challengers. U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar will take on former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, a leader of the opposition to a proposal on the city’s ballot last fall that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with an agency revamped public safety. And U.S. Representative Betty McCollum will take on progressive community organizer Amane Badhasso in their St. Paul-based district.

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