Businessman Hagedorn upsets party-endorsed candidate in First District.
Washington – Tom Emmer’s victory in the Sixth Congressional District Republican primary Tuesday brings him a step closer to becoming the successor to retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The former state representative and conservative radio host handily defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah.
Sivarajah stuck with her campaign even after Emmer secured the party nomination and Bachmann’s backing.
Emmer will be the favorite against Democrat Joe Perske and Independence Party candidate John Denney in November to represent the Sixth District, which includes the suburbs and exurbs north of the Twin Cities all the way to St. Cloud.
“As I look towards beginning the next phase of our campaign, there are no shortcuts to putting the time in,” Emmer said in a statement.
The primary victory revives Emmer’s political career, which stalled after his loss to the DFL’s Mark Dayton in the 2010 governor’s race.
Voters also chose a Republican nominee to face Rep. Tim Walz in the First District and a Democratic nominee to face Rep. John Kline in the Second District; the incumbents are favored to win re-election.
In the First District, businessman Jim Hagedorn upset Army veteran Aaron Miller, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the Republican primary.
The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, had pegged Miller as an up-and-coming candidate.
After failing to win the party endorsement, Hagedorn re-entered the race “at the urging of quite a few people inside the Republican Party,” who felt that Miller wasn’t devoting enough time to the campaign, he said.
“They felt that [Miller’s campaign] wasn’t strong enough to beat an incumbent congressman,” Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn now faces Walz, a four-term incumbent.
In the Second District Democratic primary, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller easily outpaced opponent Michael Roberts.
Obermueller now gets another shot at unseating Kline, who defeated him in a closer-than-expected race in 2012. The campaign arm of House Democrats, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was backing his campaign, but not with nearly as much fervor as it did in the previous election.
Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is seeking a seventh term.
Paula Overby is the Independence Party candidate in the race.
None of Minnesota’s U.S. House members faced primary challengers.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau