Mar 28, 2022 - Politics

Minnesota legislators lose endorsement votes to same-party rivals

eric pratt and john thompson

Left to right: Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) and Rep. John Thompson (DFL-St. Paul). Photos courtesy of Minnesota Legislature

At least three sitting Minnesota legislators running for re-election lost weekend endorsement battles.

Why it matters: The DFL and GOP endorsements carry weight with primary voters and give candidates access to party resources and cash.

Who lost: Embattled DFL Rep. John Thompson was trounced by former congressional staffer Liz Lee in a three-way contest for the DFL endorsement in a seat that covers St. Paul's East Side.

  • On the Republican side, state Sen. Eric Pratt, an influential committee chair from Prior Lake, was bested by newcomer Natalie Barnes.

Plus: Sen. Jason Isaacson of Shoreview confirmed to Axios that he'll suspend his re-election campaign after losing an endorsement vote to fellow DFL Sen. John Marty.

  • The two incumbents found themselves in the same north metro seat after redistricting.

Yes, but: Longtime state Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) held off several same-party challengers to secure the DFL's backing for an 11th term.

What to watch: Some fights will continue through the August primaries.

  • At least one of Pappas' challengers, Sheigh Freeberg, will remain on the ballot, per his campaign manager.
  • A spokesperson for Pratt told Axios in a text message that he's "weighing his options to ensure Republicans have the best candidate to represent them in November."

Of note: Thompson, who rejected calls from top DFL leaders to resign after a series of personal controversies last year, declined to comment on his plans via email.


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