MINNEAPOLIS — Challengers defeated three incumbent Democratic in Minnesota's primary elections and were leading a fourth as the progressive wing of the party showed its strength.
Sen. Erik Simonson of Duluth lost Tuesday night to attorney Jen McEwen, who campaigned against copper-nickel mining and an oil pipeline project that he supports. Rep. John Lesch lost to Athena Hollins in St. Paul, and Rep. Ray Dehn was trailing Esther Agbaje in a Minneapolis race with absentees pending.
And on Wednesday morning, Sen. Jeff Hayden, an assistant minority leader who was active in passing police accountability legislation, conceded to self-described democratic socialist Omar Fateh in the Minneapolis district where George Floyd was killed. Assuming he carries the heavily Democratic district in November, Fateh would be the first Somali American elected to the Minnesota Senate.
Hayden, Simonson and Dehn all ran without the Democratic Party endorsement after losing it to their challengers, who want the party to take a more aggressive approach on social justice and other issues.
The vote-counting continued Wednesday. Absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday will still be accepted through Thursday.