DFLers in southern Minnesota like gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz. GOP candidate for governor Jeff Johnson was most popular in far-flung suburbs. Democrats in the Twin Cities picked Keith Ellison for attorney general with near unanimity.
Clear geographic trends emerged as Minnesotans narrowed the crowded fields in numerous contested primary races Tuesday. From the dramatic governor’s race to the nationally-watched battles for U.S. House seats, voting precinct data shows which candidates were favored in certain parts of Minnesota.
Walz to the south, Swanson to the north, Murphy in the middle
DFL gubernatorial pick Tim Walz, a Mankato resident who represents a large swath of southern Minnesota in Congress, clearly did well on his home turf. Among the DFL candidates for governor, he swept the southern half of the state, and his support extended into the northwest. State Rep. Erin Murphy, of St. Paul, got the second most votes and performed particularly well in the Twin Cities, as well as winning over Cook County in the north. Attorney General Lori Swanson did well on the Iron Range and in much of northern Minnesota. Her running mate Rick Nolan represents much of northeastern Minnesota in the U.S. House.
Johnson wins big, particularly in the exurbs
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson drew on support from Morris to the Iron Range to his hometown of Detroit Lakes to pull off an unexpected upset over former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the Republican primary for governor. Johnson, who now lives in Plymouth, did particularly well in the greater metro area and exurbs, although a number of precincts in wealthy suburbs like Edina and North Oaks picked Pawlenty. Johnson also got the majority of Duluth precincts, where his running mate Donna Bergstrom lives. Pawlenty did well in the southwest corner of the state and to the west of St. Cloud, which is the area his running mate Michelle Fischbach previously represented in the Minnesota Senate.
Radinovich’s base extends further than Lee and Metsa’s
In Minnesota’s expansive Eighth Congressional District, support for GOP candidate Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County Commissioner, was nearly unanimous. There were regional bases of support for the different DFL candidates, but former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, of Crosby, emerged as the clear winner. Turnout for Radinovich was strong around the Brainerd Lakes area and extended into the Bemidji area, Duluth, the Iron Range and the district’s exurban southern edge. Longtime Duluth TV news anchor Michelle Lee did well in Duluth and surrounding communities, as well as the Arrowhead, while state Rep. Jason Metsa, of Virginia, largely dominated on the Iron Range. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy received support from her city, but not too many other places.
Omar has strong showing in Minneapolis
DFL voters across Minneapolis want to send state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who lives in the city, to Washington, D.C. Omar was competing with a number of Democrats for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s open seat representing the Fifth Congressional District. Former state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher nabbed support from a comparatively small number of precincts in Minneapolis and did well in some suburbs like Golden Valley and Fridley. But Omar also scored in the suburbs, particularly in precincts in Richfield and Crystal. Republicans picked Jennifer Zielinski, who had broad support across the district. However, the area has traditionally opted for Democrats.
Metro backs Ellison for attorney general
In the metro area, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison swept nearly every precinct in his bid for attorney general. While he faced a bit more competition in greater Minnesota — particularly from state Rep. Debra Hilstrom — Ellison’s support extended to all corners of the state.