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Primary 2022: Finstad wins 1st District special election; Samuels concedes to Omar

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Primary 2022: Finstad wins special election in 1st District, other major races settled
Primary 2022: Finstad wins special election in 1st District, other major races settled 03:21

MINNEAPOLIS -- Primary elections were held Tuesday in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Polls closed at 8 p.m.

Primaries have much lower voter turnout that general elections if history is our guide. The last state primary's turnout was 22 percent. On Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Secretary of State's office said the unofficial voter turnout for the primary was 18 percent.

Fewer people voted absentee for the primary election. But as of noon Tuesday, more than 147,000 Minnesotans did so. That's a sharp drop from the more than 500,000 who chose to do so at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Election officials say that's because we're at a different phase in the pandemic.

Voters in Wisconsin were also deciding primary races, some of which are garnering national attention. Here are links to the results from Minnesota and Wisconsin:

Minnesota

Wisconsin

From Gov. Tim Walz facing Republican challenger Scott Jensen and Rep. Ilhan Omar narrowly winning a House primary over a centrist, check out updates from Tuesday below. 

 

Jeffrey Ettinger "encouraged" after close special election result

Democrat Jeffrey Ettinger says his campaign is "encouraged" following the close special election race in Minnesota's 1st District, which he lost by only four points to Republican Brad Finstad. 

While Finstad will head to Washington to serve out the remainder of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term, he will face Ettinger again in November's general election, which will determine who will hold the southern Minnesota seat beyond January.

"Our team, honestly, is encouraged by the fact that we came within four points of pulling it off here in August," Ettinger told WCCO-TV on Wednesday, hours after the race was called. "We're energized about what we can get done in November." 

Jeffrey Ettinger says close 1st District special election race was an encouraging sign 01:42

Ettinger, a former CEO for Hormel Foods, credits his support for abortion rights for the closer-than-expected special election result. Finstad, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture official, is an opponent of abortion. 

WCCO-TV was also scheduled to speak with Finstad on Wednesday morning, although his campaign canceled, citing the long election night. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Republican Brad Finstad wins special election in 1st District

Republican Brad Finstad has won the special election in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

Finstad will serve out the remainder of late Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term. He will face Democrat Jeff Ettinger again in the general election in November.

By WCCO Staff
 

With all precincts reporting, Finstad leads Ettinger in 1st District special election

Though The Associated Press has yet to call the race, Republican Brad Finstad leads Democrat Jeff Ettinger in the 1st Congressional District special election with all precincts reporting.

Per the Secretary of State's Office, Finstad leads Ettinger by nearly 5,000 votes. 

If the results hold, Finstad will serve the rest of late Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term. Finstad and Ettinger will face off again in the general election in November.  

By WCCO Staff
 

Dawanna Witt wins Hennepin County sheriff primary

Dawanna Witt, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Hennepin County sheriff, has won the primary. 

Witt outpaced second-place finisher Joseph Banks by about 55,000 votes, per the Secretary of State's Office. The two will face off in the general election in November.

If elected, Witt would be the first sheriff of color to lead Hennepin County.

Current Sheriff Dave Hutchinson announced he would not run for reelection after he pleaded guilty to drunk driving in a December crash near Alexandria. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Moriarty, Dimick will face off in general election for Hennepin County attorney

Former public defender Mary Moriarty and former judge Martha Holton Dimick will advance to November's general election for Hennepin County public attorney.

Moriarty earned over 36% of the vote in Tuesday's primary, more than twice what Dimick totaled, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

Moriarty served as Hennepin County's chief public defender from 2014 until 2020.

Dimick is a former judge, deputy city attorney, professor and current resident of north Minneapolis who was endorsed by Mayor Jacob Frey.  

Incumbent county attorney Mike Freeman announced last year he would not seek reelection.

By WCCO Staff
 

John Thompson loses House primary race to challenger Liz Lee

State Rep. John Thompson, whose first term was marked by controversy, was crushed in a primary challenge by Liz Lee. 

Voters in District 67A on St. Paul's east side voted overwhelmingly for Lee, who amassed nearly 90 percent of the vote. According to the Secretary of State's Office, only 270 people voted for Thompson while 2,168 people cast a ballot for Lee.

Thompson became a prominent activist following the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile in 2016. He was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 2020. 

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Rep. John Thompson (credit: CBS)

His time in office coincided with a string of controversies. Earlier this year, he was accused of using his position to bully a St. Paul police officer. Last year, he was cited for driving with a suspended license, which held to questions about whether he lived in his district. After that, domestic abuse allegations resurfaced, leading to calls for his resignation.

Thompson refused to resign but he was ousted from the DFL Party. He chose to serve out his term as an independent. 

Lee had the DFL endorsement. According to her campaign website, he attended Yale University and has worked for the past decade on issues of public health equity, closing the academic achievement gap, and increasing affordable housing. 

By WCCO Staff
 

McCollum wins DFL nomination for 4th Congressional District

Rep. Betty McCollum has won the Democratic nomination for Minnesota's 4th Congressional District – a seat she has held for more than 20 years.

McCollum handedly defeated challenger Amane Badhasso.

"This is a remarkable victory. DFL voters know me, they trust me, and they value my experience and leadership. I am deeply grateful for the support they showed for me today at the polls," McCollum said. "I work hard in Congress and I fight every day for Minnesota and our values. I believe integrity, honesty, and decency still matter in DFL politics and that's what my campaign delivered to voters in this election."

By WCCO Staff
 

Jensen challenges Walz to more debates

Dr. Scott Jensen, who won the Minnesota Republican primary for governor, released a statement late Tuesday night calling on incumbent Gov. Tim Walz, the Democratic primary winner, to have "an open and honest discussion of the issues though debates."

Jensen claims that Walz has dropped out of two debates prior to the primary. Both faced off for the first and only time so far last week during a contentious appearance at Farmfest

By WCCO Staff
 

AP calls 5th District race for Ilhan Omar

While Ilhan Omar has already declared victory and Don Samuels has conceded, The Associated Press has now called the 5th District race for the incumbent congresswoman. 

With 99 percent of votes counted, Omar won by roughly 2,400 votes, the news agency estimated. She got about 50 percent of the vote while Samuels amassed roughly 48 percent. 

Omar will face Republican Cicely Davis in November's general election. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Schultz to face Ellison in Minnesota AG race

Business lawyer Jim Schultz won the GOP primary Tuesday night to take on Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison

In the Republican attorney general primary, Schultz beat Doug Wardlow, who narrowly lost to Ellison in 2018. The November election is expected to turn on views about public safety and abortion.

Republicans have spent months attacking Ellison on public safety after crime rose in Minneapolis in 2020 and 2021, as in other major cities across the U.S. While homicides are down in Minneapolis so far this year, assaults and burglaries are rising

Wardlow challenged Schultz against the wishes of his own party. Schultz won the Republican Party's endorsement, but Wardlow, who narrowly lost to Ellison in 2018, dismissed "elites" atop the party.

Wardlow is general counsel at MyPillow and an ally of its founder, Mike Lindell, a leading booster of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

By The Associated Press
 

Michels wins Wisconsin GOP governor primary, will face Evers

Tim Michels, a wealthy businessman endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican primary for Wisconsin governor on Tuesday and will face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in a contest that could reshape elections in the marquee battleground.

Michels defeated former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence and had backing from establishment Republicans, including ex-Gov. Scott Walker.

In her concession speech, Kleefisch said, "The fight now is truly against Tony Evers and the liberals who want to take away our way of life."

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Michels Votes On Wisconsin Primary Day
Getty Images

Both Michels and Kleefisch falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was rigged, a lie Trump has pushed in an effort to overturn his loss to Joe Biden. Michels said decertifying the results of the 2020 contest was not a priority but said "everything will be on the table." He supports other changes to voting and elections, including dismantling the bipartisan commission that runs Wisconsin elections.

The governor's race was the latest proxy war between Trump and Pence, one-time partners who have backed opposing candidates in other swing states as they try to push the GOP in different directions.

The primary comes a day after FBI agents searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

In the Democratic Senate primary, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes won the nomination to face Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, one of Trump's most vocal supporters, after Barnes' top rivals dropped out of the race late last month. The matchup is among the last to be set before the November general election, when control of the currently 50-50 split Senate is up for grabs, and Democrats see Wisconsin as one of their best opportunities to flip a seat.

Wisconsin's most powerful Republican, state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, also faced a Trump-backed challenger. Trump endorsed Adam Steen after Vos rejected the former president's pressure to decertify the 2020 results.

Tuesday's outcomes have far-reaching consequences beyond Wisconsin, a state that is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and where 2022 will be seen as a bellwether for the 2024 presidential race. The person elected governor this fall will be in office for the presidential election and will be able to sign or veto changes to election laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The next governor and U.S. senator also may sway decisions on issues from abortion to education and taxes.

"We're a 50-50 state and so every race in Wisconsin, just by definition, is going to be decided by a few percentage points one way or another," said former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. "And those few percentage points in Wisconsin may well determine what the course of the nation is in the coming years."

Elsewhere Tuesday, a Trump-backed candidate won the GOP primary for Senate in Connecticut, a state that's long been home to the Republican establishment. Republican National Committee member Leora Levy, whom Trump endorsed last week, will face two-term Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal after she defeated former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, who had support from the state party. Voters in Vermont — the only state to never have a woman in its congressional delegation — chose a woman, Becca Balint, as the Democratic nominee for the state's lone House seat. She is favored in the race to replace Rep. Peter Welch, who won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat long held by Patrick Leahy, who is retiring. And Minnesota Republicans chose Dr. Scott Jensen, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic endorsed by the state GOP, to face Gov. Tim Walz.

But the most-watched races were in Wisconsin, where Trump has kept up his pressure campaign to cancel President Joe Biden's 2020 victory. Biden won by nearly 21,000 votes, four years after Trump also narrowly won the state by roughly the same margin. The 2020 outcome has been upheld in two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a review by a conservative law firm and multiple lawsuits.

Evers has made voting and elections a focus of his own campaign, telling voters he's the only candidate who will defend democracy and "we are that close to not having our vote count in the state of Wisconsin."

Both Michels and Kleefisch said overturning the 2020 election results was not a priority. But they said they would dismantle the bipartisan commission that runs Wisconsin elections and would support prohibitions on voters having someone else turn in their absentee ballots, as well as ballot drop boxes located anywhere other than staffed clerk offices.

Michels is co-owner of Wisconsin's largest construction company and has touted his work to build his family's business. He lost the 2004 Senate race to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, and has been a major donor to GOP politicians.

At a rally on Friday, Trump praised Michels as an "incredible success story." He criticized Kleefisch as part of the "failed establishment" and also took aim at Vos. He told supporters that Michels was the better choice to defeat Evers.

Michels pledged that "we are going to have election integrity here in Wisconsin." He also said he will bring "law and order" back to Wisconsin, criticized Evers' handling of schools and blamed Biden for rising prices.

GOP state Rep. Tim Ramthun also made a long-shot bid for governor.

Barnes, in his victory speech in Milwaukee, emphasized his middle-class background and upbringing while casting Johnson as "self-serving" and "an out-of-touch politician" who cares only about special interests and wealthy donors.

"It is time for a change, everybody," said Barnes, who would be Wisconsin's first Black senator if elected. "It's time for us to be represented by somebody who shares our experiences."

Johnson called Barnes the "most radical left candidate" Democrats could have chosen.

"This is a contest between radical left socialism versus freedom and prosperity," he said.

By The Associated Press
 

"This is a win for them": Ilhan Omar releases victory statement

Rep. Ilhan Omar declared victory Tuesday night following a close race against moderate primary challenger Don Samuels. 

While the race remains too close to call outright, Samuels conceded the race earlier in the night, as he trailed the incumbent congresswoman by roughly 3,000 votes.

In a statement, Omar said that she's honored to be on the path for a third term in Congress. The progressive congresswoman also accused "conservative Democrats" of working with Republicans in order to oust her from the deep-blue seat. 

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CBS

"Millions of dollars have been spent to unseat us," she said. "Republicans and conservative Democrats have worked in lockstep to vote us out. Corporations and special interest groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads against us. Pundits and news agencies have tried to smear us and undermine our work." 

She added: "Tonight's victory is a testament to how much our district believes in the collective values we are fighting for and how much they're willing to do to help us overcome defeat. This win is for them and everyone who still believes that hate, division and regression will not be the legacy of the Fifth."

Omar will face Republican Cicely Davis in November's general election. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Finstad declares victory in Republican primary for 1st District

Brad Finstad has declared victory in the Republican primary for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District. 

While votes are still coming in, the former U.S. Department of Agriculture official has garnered more than 75 percent of the vote with about half of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has also declared him the winner over State Rep. Jeremy Munson.

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CBS

"This win is another step forward in advancing our Southern Minnesota values," he said in a statement. "There is no question that the election in November will again provide a clear contrast. I promise to fight the extreme Biden and Pelosi agenda that is devasting (sic) our families. I will work to slash inflation, get control of the border, restore American energy independence, and put our families first."

Finstad is set to face former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger in the general election. It'll be a rematch of another contest on Tuesday night, when Finstad and Ettinger were on the ballot in a special election over who will serve out the remainder of U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn's term. The Republican congressman died in February following a battle with cancer. 

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Findstad held the lead in the special election, although much of the vote yet remains to be counted. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Don Samuels concedes tight 5th District race to Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar narrowly defeated a primary challenger for her seat in Minnesota's 5th District.

The progressive incumbent won roughly 51 percent of the vote in the deep-blue district, which encompasses Minneapolis and its surrounding suburbs. Moderate challenger Don Samuels, a former Minneapolis City Council member, amassed nearly 48 percent of the vote, according to the Secretary of State's Office. The gap between them could be fewer than 3,000 votes by the time all the ballots are counted. 

Samuels conceded the race Tuesday night, saying that if Omar weren't the incumbent with the backing of the Democratic establishment, he would have won.

"When you get the obligatory endorsements of the Speaker of the House, and other DFL leaders, it's tough to beat," he said. "To come this close, means that we have our finger on the pulse of the exhausted majority." 

Omar will face Republican Cicely Davis in November. Davis won the district's Republican primary, amassing around 48 percent of the vote and defeated two challengers, one of them was former Gopher basketball star Royce White.

 

Don Samuels concedes 5th District race to Ilhan Omar 07:38

Prior to this race, Omar has crushed her opponents, topping them by double digits. However, Samuels is a well-known figure in Minneapolis, and defined himself against Omar in regards to public safety.

Omar had backed the effort last year to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new apparatus of public safety. Samuels, on the other hand, fought to keep the department and reform it.

The Minneapolis Police Department has been under intense scrutiny since the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked mass protests and riots. In the years since, crime has surged in the Twin Cities, as have concerns over safety, particularly in areas such as north Minneapolis, where Samuels is a longtime resident.

Omar has represented the 5th District since 2019. Before her, the seat was held by Keith Ellison, who currently serves as the state's attorney general.  

By WCCO Staff
 

Walz, Jensen win primaries to set up governor race

 Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Scott Jensen scored easy victories in their primaries Tuesday, setting the stage for their fall matchup in Minnesota's marquee race for governor.

Walz is seeking his second term under the same "One Minnesota" slogan he used four years ago, but in an ever more polarized environment where Jensen and the GOP are seeking to turn his management of the pandemic against him. Both men easily overcome little-known or perennial candidates to formalize a race that's already been underway for months.

Minneapolis Braces For Verdict In Derek Chauvin Trial
Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

In another top race, voters were choosing between two Republicans vying to take on Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison in a race that may turn on views about public safety and abortion. Ellison easily beat perennial candidate Bill Dahn in the Democratic primary.

Republicans have spent months attacking Walz and Ellison on public safety after crime rose in Minneapolis in 2020 and 2021, as in other major cities across the U.S. While homicides are down in Minneapolis so far this year, assaults and burglaries are rising.

Republicans have blamed Walz for a sluggish National Guard mobilization they say enabled the sometimes violent protests that followed George Floyd's killing in 2020, including arson that destroyed a police precinct.

Walz has dismissed "second-guessing" of his moves during the pandemic, which included closing schools, restaurants and businesses and restricting large gatherings during the worst periods, and hit back at Jensen, a physician and former state lawmaker who rose to prominence in part on his COVID-19 vaccine skepticism.

"You can have wishful thinking and you can hope that you know COVID wasn't real and you can take ivermectin or whatever, but that is not where the facts are," Walz said to Jensen during their first debate just a week before the primary.

Jensen has denied being anti-science, even as one of his vaccine-questioning videos on Facebook drew a cautionary label from the company and a temporary ban on advertising on the site.

Jensen has also gone after Walz on rising inflation, dismissing record-low unemployment as a "false metric" compared with the higher costs consumers are facing.

Retired pastor George Brecheisen, 83, of the Minneapolis suburb of Shakopee, said "law and order" was the big reason he voted for Jensen and his running mate, former Vikings center Matt Birk. He said Walz was too slow in sending the National Guard to stop unrest after Floyd's murder.

"From what I've heard, they believe in Republican things about spending, about law and order, generally how a state should be run," Brecheisen said.

Democrat Barb Atkinson, 53, a part-time event planner for a radio station who lives in downtown Minneapolis voted for Walz, praising his pandemic restrictions, saying they were based on science and the advice he was getting from medical professionals.

"He took it seriously. It was not a joke. It wasn't fake. We lost over a million people to this," Atkinson said.

Walz has pledged to protect abortion rights in Minnesota, which became an island for legal abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, allowing surrounding states' bans on the procedure to take effect. Jensen has downplayed the prospect of immediate change on abortion if he's elected, but in July he softened his call for an abortion ban to allow exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the mother's physical or mental health.

In the Republican attorney general primary, business attorney Jim Schultz won the party's endorsement to take on Ellison. But Doug Wardlow, who narrowly lost to Ellison in 2018, was mounting a primary challenge against his own party's wishes, dismissing "elites" atop the party. Both Schultz and Wardlow attacked Ellison for rising crime and for his support of abortion rights.

Wardlow is general counsel at MyPillow and an ally of its founder, Mike Lindell, a leading booster of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

By The Associated Press
 

Mandela Barnes wins Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes won the Democratic Senate primary on Tuesday and will face two-term Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in what is expected to be one of the country's most competitive races for control of the U.S. Senate.

Barnes' top rivals dropped out of the race late last month and backed the former legislator, a sign of Democrats' intense focus on defeating Johnson, who is one of former President Donald Trump's most vocal supporters. The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Democrats relying on the vice president to break ties, and the Wisconsin contest is one of the few races seen a a toss-up in November.

Democratic Senate Candidate Mandela Barnes Campaigns In Milwaukee
/ Getty Images

Voters also were choosing a Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor who could reshape how elections are conducted in the marquee battleground, where Trump is still pressing to overturn his 2020 loss and backing candidates he sees as allies.

Trump has endorsed businessman Tim Michels, a self-described outsider who has put $12 million into his own campaign, against former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who has support from former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-Gov. Scott Walker. Both candidates falsely claim the 2020 election was rigged, though Kleefisch has said decertifying the results is "not constitutional," while Michels said "everything will be on the table."

The race to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is another proxy war between Trump and Pence, one-time partners now pursuing different futures for the Republican Party. They also backed opposing GOP rivals in primaries in Arizona and Georgia — swing states that like Wisconsin are expected to be critical in the 2024 presidential race, when both men could be on the ballot.

The primary comes a day after FBI agents searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Trump also has backed a little-known challenger to the state's most powerful Republican, state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has rejected the former president's pressure to decertify the 2020 results.

Tuesday's outcomes have far-reaching consequences beyond Wisconsin, a state that is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and where 2022 will be seen as a bellwether for the 2024 presidential race. The person elected governor this fall will be in office for the presidential election and will be able to sign or veto changes to election laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The next governor and U.S. senator also may sway decisions on issues from abortion to education and taxes.

"We're a 50-50 state and so every race in Wisconsin, just by definition, is going to be decided by a few percentage points one way or another," said former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. "And those few percentage points in Wisconsin may well determine what the course of the nation is in the coming years."

Elsewhere Tuesday, voters in Vermont — the only state to never have a woman in its congressional delegation — chose a woman, Becca Balint, as the Democratic nominee for the state's lone House seat. She is favored in the race to replace Rep. Peter Welch, who won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat long held by Patrick Leahy, who is retiring. In Connecticut, Republicans were picking an opponent to face two-term Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal. And Minnesota Republicans were expected to choose Dr. Scott Jensen, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic endorsed by the state GOP, to face Gov. Tim Walz.

But the most-watched races are in Wisconsin, where Trump has kept up his pressure campaign to cancel President Joe Biden's 2020 victory. Biden won by nearly 21,000 votes, four years after Trump also narrowly won the state by roughly the same margin. The 2020 outcome has been upheld in two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a review by a conservative law firm and multiple lawsuits.

Both Michels and Kleefisch have said overturning the 2020 election results is not a priority. But they have said they would dismantle the bipartisan commission that runs Wisconsin elections and would support prohibitions on voters having someone else turn in their absentee ballots, as well as ballot drop boxes located anywhere other than staffed clerk offices.

Evers has made voting and elections a focus of his own campaign, telling voters he's the only candidate who will defend democracy and "we are that close to not having our vote count in the state of Wisconsin."

Kleefisch is a former TV reporter who served with Walker for two terms, including when he effectively ended collective bargaining for most public employees in the state in 2011, drawing huge protests and a failed recall attempt. She says she is the best prepared to win statewide in November and to enact conservative priorities, including investing more in police, expanding school choice programs and implementing a flat income tax.

During a campaign stop with Kleefisch last week, Pence said no other gubernatorial candidate in the U.S. is "more capable, more experienced, or a more proven conservative."

Michels is co-owner of Wisconsin's largest construction company and has touted his work to build his family's business. He lost the 2004 Senate race to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, and has been a major donor to GOP politicians.

At a rally on Friday, Trump praised Michels as an "incredible success story." He criticized Kleefisch as part of the "failed establishment" and also took aim at Vos. He told supporters that Michels will win the primary "easily" and that he's the better choice to defeat Evers.

Michels pledged that "we are going to have election integrity here in Wisconsin." He also said he will bring "law and order" back to Wisconsin, criticized Evers' handling of schools and blamed Biden for rising prices.

Voter Gary Steinbrecher, 62, said he cast his ballot Tuesday for Kleefisch because she opposes abortion and has "been around for a long time." He also thinks she has the best chance of defeating Evers.

"I think she would appeal to the suburban women voters more than the other candidates," said Steinbrecher, who is semi-retired.

Franklin Szpot, 42, voted for Michels. He said he appreciated that Michels is a business owner and that he served in the U.S. Army. Szpot also liked the candidate's "to the point" commercials.

"It just seems like he is a no-nonsense kind of guy and that's the kind of person we need in office right now," he said.

GOP state Rep. Tim Ramthun is also making a long-shot bid for governor, and has made rescinding Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes for Biden the centerpiece of his campaign.

The candidate Trump endorsed to take on Vos, Adam Steen, has said he would decertify Biden's victory.

The race for Senate already was seen as a fight between Johnson and Barnes, who would be Wisconsin's first Black senator if elected.

By The Associated Press
 

Intra-party battle in the Republican primary for attorney general

An intra-party battle is taking place over which Republican will run against Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in November. 

Jim Schultz, who has the backing of the Minnesota Republican Party, is facing Doug Wardlow, the attorney for MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, in Tuesday's primary.

Wardlow has the backing of former President Donald Trump while Schultz is supported by the state's Republican establishment, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence.

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Jim Schultz and Doug Wardlow (credit: CBS)

While Wardlow said he would drop out of the race if he didn't win the party endorsement, he has still chosen to run against Schultz, the party-backed candidate, in the primary. 

The winner of the contest will face Ellison, the incumbent, in the general election. Republicans are hoping to win the office amid concerns over crime and policing in the Twin Cities. 

By WCCO Staff
 

All eyes on the Republican primary for Wisconsin governor

One of the most-watched races Tuesday night will be the Republican primary in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race, as some are viewing it as a proxy war between former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Trump has endorsed construction executive Tim Michels while Pence has endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The contest over who will face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November is expected to be close, and it's happening in a battleground state where Trump is still pressing to overturn his 2020 loss.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Michels Votes On Wisconsin Primary Day
Getty Images

While both Republican candidates have claimed that the 2020 election was rigged, Kleefisch has said that decertifying the results would be unconstitutional, whereas Michels said that, for him, "everything will be on the table." 

Trump and Pence, once allies in the White House, are also backing rival primary candidates in Arizona and Georgia. Additionally, the two are on opposite sides on the Republican primary for Minnesota's attorney general. Trump has backed Doug Wardlow, the attorney for his close ally Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, while Pence has backed Jim Schultz, who won the Minnesota Republican Party's endorsement. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Ilhan Omar facing centrist challenger in the 5th District

Progressive Democrat Ilhan Omar is facing a primary challenge from centrist Democrat Don Samuels, a former Minneapolis City Council member. 

While Omar is the often criticized from those outside the Twin Cities, she is popular in the 5th District, which encompasses Minneapolis and several of its close suburbs. In past elections in the deep-blue district, Omar bested her rivals by double-digit margins, even when they were well-financed. 

Yet, Samuels is a respected resident on Minneapolis' north side, and he also played a key role in the successful effort to not do away with the city's police department. Omar had backed the ballot measure last year that would have replaced the department with a new Department of Public Safety. 

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CBS

Instead of abolishing the police, Samuels says his approach is to fix it and support officers. Omar, for her part, has called for other approaches to public safety beyond policing. 

Issues of police abuse and reform have been at the center of Minneapolis politics even before the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The killing, which was captured on bystander video, sparked mass demonstrations and riots in the city, which in the years since has been troubled by a surge in crime. Meanwhile, the city's police department has shed officers, becoming significantly understaffed, an issue over which Samuels successfully sued the city last year. 

While Samuels has raised significant amounts for his campaign, Omar has a hefty cash advantage. Omar has held the 5th District seat since 2019. Before her, it was held by Keith Ellison, who currently serves as the state's attorney general. 

By WCCO Staff
 

2 elections happening in Minnesota's 1st District

Minnesota's first congressional district, which covers the state's southern edge, has been without a representative since February, when Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) died following a battle with cancer. 

As such, a special election was held Tuesday to determine who will serve out Hagedorn's term, which is up in January. The two chief candidates are Democrat Jeffrey Ettinger, a former Hormel Foods chief executive, and Republican Brad Finstad, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture official. 

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CBS

Also happening Tuesday is a Republican primary race, which encompasses different district boundaries than the special election due to the recent census. Finstad is also in this race, facing Republican State Rep. Jeremy Munson (Lake Crystal)  in a contest on who will be on the November ballot for the two-year congressional term.

It's possible that Finstad could win the special election, and serve in Congress until January, but lose the primary, giving Munson a chance to take his seat next year. Whoever wins the primary race will face Ettinger, who does not have any serious Democratic opponents, in the November general election. 

By WCCO Staff
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