Aug 9, 2022 - Politics

What to watch in Minnesota's 2022 primary election

Illustration of a pattern of red checkmarks.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesota voters head to the polls Tuesday for the state's primary election. Here's a sampling of some of the most closely watched races on the ballot.

Republican attorney general race

The most competitive statewide primary is the Republican attorney general race between Jim Schulz, the party-endorsed candidate, and Doug Wardlow, who was the GOP's nominee in 2018.

  • The stakes: The winner takes on DFL Attorney General Keith Ellison in what's expected to be a hotly contested race this November.
Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum

In the Twin Cities, Democratic U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum both have same-party challengers.

  • Omar, who secured the DFL endorsement, faces former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels. He's sought to position himself as a more moderate choice on public safety.
  • McCollum's rival is Amane Badhasso, a political organizer and Ethiopian refugee calling for fresh leadership in the St. Paul-based district.

Plus: Voters in Southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District will send either Republican Brad Finstad or Democrat Jeff Ettinger to Washington to finish out late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term.

Minnesota Legislature primaries 2022

The outcome of primaries across the state will set the stage for the November battle for control of the Legislature — but they'll also shape political dynamics at the Capitol in other ways.

A number of GOP races pit conservative activists against candidates backed by Republican leaders and business groups.

Between the lines: The results in those races will likely influence politics and priorities of the GOP caucuses in both chambers next year.

On the DFL side, longtime Sen. Sandy Pappas of St. Paul and freshman Sen. Omar Fateh of Minneapolis face primary challengers. So do Rep. Aisha Gomez of Minneapolis and St. Paul Rep. John Thompson, who was expelled from the DFL caucus following a series of controversies.

Capitols insiders are also watching the post-redistricting member vs. member duels between DFL Reps. Sandra Masin and Liz Reyer in the Eagan area s and Reps. Andrew Carlson and Steve Elkins in Bloomington.

Who will succeed Mike Freeman?

Voters in Hennepin County will decide which two candidates for county attorney emerge from a crowded, seven-way race.

  • Former chief public defender Mary Moriarty, who's running with the DFL endorsement, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and retired Judge Martha Holton Dimick are seen as top contenders for the November runoff to succeed retiring County Attorney Mike Freeman.
  • The race is nonpartisan, so the top two vote-getters advance to November, regardless of their political party

Yes, and: In Dakota County, a field of four candidates for another open county attorney seat will winnow to two.

And South Washington County Schools is asking voters to approve a $462.6 million bond to address school overcrowding. If successful, it would be the largest school referendum approved in in the state, leaders say.

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