Usually Minnesota candidates take their cues from the state party endorsing convention and don’t force primaries when they fail to attract majority support from the assembled delegates. This traditional practice is starting to change, however. Already we see state Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) saying she will force a Republican congressional primary after the congressional district endorsing convention backed 2014 and ’16 nominee Jim Hagedorn. State Rep. Jason Metsa (D-Virginia) is also forcing a Democratic primary in the open 8th Congressional District. Now, a Democratic gubernatorial primary may be emerging.
Yesterday, Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) confirmed that he will force a primary campaign if he fails to win the upcoming state party endorsement. State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D) and state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul) previously said they would abide by the party delegates’ vote. Mr. Walz is viewed as at least a slight favorite to win the nomination, but he obviously feels he could be upset at the convention. The primary announcement will likely reduce his strength among delegates even further, so the chances of now going to an August 14th Democratic primary are high.
Prospects also exist for a Republican primary because former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is getting into the race too late to commit large numbers of county convention delegates already pledged to former gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner. All of these aforementioned developments suggest we could see an unusually active primary season in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
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