Mar 27, 2024 - Politics

Trail mix: Endorsement battles, Biden staffs up in Minnesota

Illustration of trail mix with elephant and donkey pretzels

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The race to replace retiring DFL state Rep. Frank Hornstein is heading for a contested primary.

Why it matters: It's been years since voters in the Minneapolis district had a real race for the state House.

The latest: Several DFL candidates for House District 61A vowed to stay in the race after last weekend's endorsing convention resulted in no endorsement.

State of play: Former city council candidate Katie Jones, legislative aid Isabel Rolfes, researcher Will Stancil, ‍and restaurateur Jared Brewington are among the candidates planning to compete in the August primary, Southwest Voices reports.

  • Former local DFL leader Dylan McMahon dropped out.

A double endorsement in Lakeville

State Rep. Jon Koznick secured the GOP's endorsement for his re-election bid not once, but twice this cycle.

Wait, what? A procedural challenge backed by his rival's supporters invalidated the first endorsement vote and triggered a redo, which the Lakeville Republican also won.

Between the lines: The dispute was part of a broader political battle between House GOP leadership and the right-wing Action 4 Liberty group, which has challenged incumbent and establishment-backed candidates in recent elections.

Biden staffs up

Ron Harris, a DNC member and recent congressional candidate, is the new Minnesota state director for President Biden's re-election campaign.

  • Two veteran DFL campaign managers — Alana Petersen, a former strategist for Gov. Tim Walz, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken; and Justin Buoen, an alum of U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar — will serve as senior advisers.

State of play: Biden defeated former President Trump by about 7 percentage points in 2020, though the 2016 race between Trump and Hillary Clinton was much closer.

What we're watching: Trump told KNSI's "Hot Talk with the Ox" earlier this month that he's working with U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer to turn Minnesota red in the presidential election for the first time since 1972.

1 quote to go: Tim Pitt for governor?

brad pitt next to gov tim walz photo
Could they be twins? Photos: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images and Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images
"I used to look like Brad Pitt before I started this job. Now look at me."
— Gov. Tim Walz deflecting a question from MPR News on whether his family wants him to run for a third term.

The intrigue: Walz didn't rule out another run — or speculation that he's angling for a job in the Biden administration — telling "Politics Friday" host Brian Bakst, "I never close the door on anything."

Trail Mix is Axios Twin Cities reporter Torey Van Oot's occasional column on all things Minnesota politics. Send her your tips and political takes: [email protected]

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