In a primary election Tuesday that generated disturbingly low turnout, victories came with vote totals in the hundreds, not thousands, in a number of contests around the state. But relatively few votes made a lasting difference in ways including these:
• A solid victory for Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Natalie Hudson was a heartening sign that voters appreciate the outstanding record Hudson has built through 14 years on the appellate bench. We hope that this awareness persists through the general election, in which she will be opposed by second-place primary finisher Michelle MacDonald.
• Republican voters in the southeast-suburban Second Congressional District affirmed their party’s endorsement of Jason Lewis, sending talk radio’s “Mr. Right” into what promises to be a hard-fought contest this fall with DFLer Angie Craig. Minnesota’s CD2 has long been in Republican hands, but the retirement of Rep. John Kline and discomfort with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump have combined to cast it as a swing district this year. We advise voters to seek the candidate better able to uphold Kline’s tradition of bipartisan problem-solving.
• GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt handily overcame a Tea Party-allied challenge in District 31A, one of four districts just north of the Twin Cities in which Republican incumbents faced intraparty rivals. We hope Daudt sees his victory as an affirmation of his efforts to strike a deal with the DFL Senate majority and Gov. Mark Dayton to finally complete the work of the 2016 Legislature. We’re rooting for a special session later this month.
• Two GOP incumbents, Sen. Sean Nienow of Cambridge and Rep. Tom Hackbarth of Cedar, lost their seats Tuesday to candidates who had bested them in party endorsement contests earlier this year. The results confirm the power of party endorsements, particularly when turnout is low.
• Two veteran Minneapolis DFLers were ousted by newcomers whose candidacies were propelled by new Americans’ desires to join the political process. In north Minneapolis District 59A, 10-term Rep. Joe Mullery lost to Fue Lee. In southeast Minneapolis District 60B, former City Council aide Ilhan Omar unseated 22-term state Rep. Phyllis Kahn. If Omar prevails in November, she stands to be the state’s first Somali-American legislator.
This page endorsed a third candidate in District 60B, Mohamud Noor, arguing that Kahn’s legislative priorities did not match the district’s changing needs. But we acknowledge with gratitude Kahn’s extensive contributions to this state through 44 years in office, which tied her for the longest service in state House history.
Knowing Kahn and Mullery, we are confident that they will continue to be valued contributors to their communities.
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