DFL chair Ken Martin minced no words Wednesday when speaking about Matt Entenza's failed bid for state auditor against the party's endorsed candidate and incumbent, Rebecca Otto.
Entenza first irked party officials when he filed a last-minute challenge to Otto. The former lawmaker spent nearly $700,000 of his own money in an effort to unseat her, making it the most expensive auditor's race in the state's history.
"The reason Matt Entenza lost -- and I think this should be a wakeup call to candidates like Mike McFadden – look what happened yesterday with two candidates, Scott Honour and Matt Entenza, who tried to buy the election," Martin said in a post-primary press conference.
Honour, a political newcomer and business executive, loaned his campaign about $900,000 and finished fourth in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson prevailed as the GOP's pick to face DFL Gov. Mark Dayton this fall. McFadden, an investment banker from Sunfish Lake, is now the Republicans' pick to face DFL Sen. Al Franken this fall.
A request for comment left with an Entenza campaign official was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Martin said he was angry with Entenza because the race turned negative and diverted the party's time and money to defend the typically low-key post of state auditor.
Entenza's challenge was "personal because he took on the party in a way that he didn’t have to. If he cared about our fortunes this fall, about Mark Dayton and Sen. Franken and the rest of our ticket, he wouldn't have foisted this primary upon us and had us waste a lot of resources that we could have used in the general election."
Photo by Star Tribune photographer Glen Stubbe.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Honour finished third in the Republican primary. He finished fourth.
Flanked by his former rivals, Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson said the morning after winning the GOP primary that he was ready to unite the party and raise the campaign funds he’ll need to mount a credible challenge to Gov. Mark Dayton.
In short remarks, his former rivals -- Rep. Kurt Zellers, former lawmaker Marty Seifert, and business executive Scott Honour -- all said they would support Johnson in the general election.
"We have to be united as a Republican party," Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner said.
Johnson drew 30 percent of the vote in a primary that drew less than 10 percent of eligible voters to the polls. The GOP nominee told reporters Wednesday that the primary's low turn-out wouldn't dampen Republican's enthusiasm for the fall election.
"Republicans aren't accustomed to primaries," he said. "We haven't had one for twenty-something years...[but] all of us can attest to this, there was a lot of excitement."
Going forward, he said he would he would focus on contrasting his style of governing with that of DFL incumbent Dayton. He said that as governor, he would focus on making government work more efficiently with less money. He said that in the weeks ahead, he would seek to contrast his ideas and style of governing with those of DFL incumbent Dayton.
He said if he were elected governor, he would halt construction on a $90-million Senate office building, criticizing it as a symbol of excessive state spending. Johnson also said he opposed automatic increases to the state's minimum wage.
Photo by Star Tribune photographer Glen Stubbe.
WASHINGTON -- Republicans far and wide congratulated GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden on his quick victory Tuesday.
McFadden clinched the primary election against state Rep. Jim Abeler within an hour of polls closing. McFadden had garnered about 74 percent of the primary vote with 36 percent of the precincts reporting at about 9:20 CT.
McFadden faces Democrat Sen. Al Franken this November.
"Mike McFadden is a problem solver who has proven he can build a winning coalition of Minnesotans who are tired of watching President Obama and Al Franken take this country in the wrong direction,” said Keith Downey, Republican party chair.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. Jerry Moran, who applauded McFadden's fundraising prowess last month to a roundtable of reporters, said in a statement:
"Minnesota families, workers and seniors are tired of an inept, dysfunctional and incompetent government in Washington ... Mike McFadden's career in business demonstrates that he knows how to get things done."
And as McFadden's supporters heaped praise on the investment banker political newcomer, his liberal detractors criticized him for being too cozy with business.
"If elected to the U.S. Senate, McFadden would put special interests - including his billionaire supporters the Koch brothers - ahead of working families," said Carrie Lucking, executive director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota.
Franken, who won his own minor primary Tuesday, issued a statement an hour after polls closed.
"I've worked hard for Minnesota and I"m proud of my record of standing up for middle class families. I'd be grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the people of our state."
Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he's ready for the fall campaign to get started, as Republicans picked a candidate who will try to unseat the DFL incumbent.
"Minnesota's in a lot better shape now than it was four years ago, and I'd like to see us continue that progress," Dayton said, after voting in the DFL primary at Summit Church in St. Paul, down the street from the Governor's Residence.
Dayton won a hard-fought DFL primary four years ago, and this year faces only token opposition in his party's gubernatorial primary. Turnout was low at the St. Paul precinct: election judge Sam Carlisle said the site was open 30 minutes before the first voter appeared. Dayton, who arrived at 12:30 p.m., was only the 89th person to show up to vote.
He joked with election workers, telling them he got over the shame of voting for himself when he was in fourth grade.
Republicans are choosing from four main contenders in the race to challenge Dayton. They are businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Rep. Kurt Zellers and former state Rep. Marty Seifert.
The GOP gubernatorial primary remained close up to the end, and expectations of low turnout made the outcome unpredictable. Polls close at 8 p.m.
Dayton declined to express a preference among the four candidates, but he rejected a central argument of all of them: that DFL control of the governor's office and Legislature have made taxes higher for Minnesotans.
"If you’re making less than $250,000 a year, your taxes have probably gone down," Dayton said. "So I think it’s very misleading to say I’ve raised taxes when I’ve lowered them for most people."
Dayton and the GOP nominee are expected to meet at six debates between Labor Day and Election Day.
Republican donor Stanley Hubbard said he and his family were uninvolved with his television stations decision to pull an anti-Stewart Mills ad.
"I heard someone accused the Hubbards of being behind that decision. We had nothing to do with it," Hubbard told the Star Tribune.
Two Hubbard stations were the only ones to cede to the Mills campaign request that stations stop airing the television ad from the Democratic House Majority PAC and the AFSCME union. Other stations are still airing the spot.
Although Hubbard and his family have personally supported Mills financially, he said that decision was out of his purview.
"Our legal department received the complaint, and they inspected the ad, and felt that there were things in it that were out of context and not true. Tell the truth and you’ll have no trouble with us," Hubbard said. "Our stations do not get involved in politics, period.”
Patrick Condon contributed to this report
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