Who’s running for office in Minnesota’s primary?

Updated: July 10, 2018 — 1:38 p.m.

With the governor’s office, both U.S. senators and all eight U.S. House seats on the ballot in November, Minnesota is shaping up to be Ground Zero in a this year’s high-stakes midterm elections. These are the candidates running in Minnesota’s gubernatorial, congressional and state office primary races. For an updated look of candidates on Minnesota's general election ballots and where they stand on the issues, visit our Voter's Guide.

Key:(i) Incumbent Party endorsed


  • Jeff Johnson

    Often the lone dissenting voice on the Hennepin County Board, Plymouth’s Johnson says he’s an advocate for taxpayers. Johnson was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, losing by 5.5 percentage points. An attorney, Johnson is a former state representative and was also the Republican candidate for attorney general in 2006.

    Running mate: Donna Bergstrom

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Erin Murphy

    The sixth-term DFLer from St. Paul was a transplant nurse who led the Minnesota Nurses Association before being elected. She’s made health care the cornerstone of her campaign, drawing on her nursing background and experience helping her mother navigate the health care system at the end of her life.

    Running mate: Rep. Erin Maye-Quade

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Tim Pawlenty

    A two-term Republican governor and former state representative, Pawlenty unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012 before taking a job as CEO of Financial Services Roundtable, a Wall Street trade association in Washington.

    Running mate: Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Ole Savior

    A perennial candidate for various offices, Savior is an artist, author and poet from Minneapolis. The longtime DFLer previously ran as a Republican for governor in 2010 and U.S. Senate in 2014.

    Running mate: Chris Edman

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Lori Swanson

    Swanson is serving her third term as Minnesota's first female attorney general. A resident of Eagan, she previously served as deputy attorney general and solicitor general.

    Running mate: U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Tim Walz

    The sixth-term congressman from Mankato represents one of the most agricultural and Republican-leaning districts currently held by a Democrat. Once a high school teacher, Walz’s 24 years in the Army National Guard serve him in his position as ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

    Running mate: Rep. Peggy Flanagan

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Chris Wright

    Wright is a longtime marijuana activist and co-founder of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party. He is making his fourth bid for governor.

    Running mate: Judith Schwartzbacker

    Website   Campaign finance


Senate (Special)
  • Bob Anderson

    A dental technician from Hastings, Anderson is a first-time candidate who says he joined the Republican Party in 2016 because of his support for Donald Trump. He calls himself a "true outsider" who will shake up the political establishment.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Karin Housley

    Housley has served as a Republican member of the Minnesota Senate since 2013. A resident of St. Mary's Point, she owns a real estate business in Stillwater. She is married to Phil Housley, a former NHL player and head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Richard Painter

    The University of Minnesota law professor is a longtime Republican who served as White House chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration. Painter, an outspoken critic of President Trump who is making his first run for public office, said he is "fed up" with the GOP when he announced his Senate bid as a Democrat.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Tina Smith (i)

    The former Minnesota lieutenant governor ascended to the U.S. Senate following the resignation of Sen. Al Franken in January 2018. Smith previously served as chief of staff to both Gov. Mark Dayton and former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jerry Trooien

    Trooien is a St. Paul real estate developer perhaps best known as the public face of a failed effort to redevelop part of the city's riverfront, known as "the Bridges of St. Paul." He is running as an independent.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Amy Klobuchar (i)

    A former Hennepin County attorney, Klobuchar became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota in 2006. She previously served as a corporate lawyer and a legal adviser to former Vice President Walter Mondale.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jim Newberger

    A three-term Republican from Becker representing a rural Minnesota House district near St. Cloud, Newberger has been a full-time paramedic for 30 years.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Paula Overby

    Overby, an openly transgender woman living in Eagan, is running for Senate as a Green Party candidate. She made previous bids for the U.S. House under the banner of the Independence Party in 2016 and as an independent in 2014.

    Website   Campaign finance


District 1
  • Dan Feehan

    A decorated Iraq War veteran, former Pentagon official during the Obama administration and teacher, Feehan grew up in Red Wing and currently lives in Mankato. He is making his first bid for elected office.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jim Hagedorn

    The GOP-endorsed candidate is running for Congress for the third time. Hagedorn, the son of former U.S. Rep. Tom Hagedorn, previously served as a congressional aide and official at the U.S. Treasury Department. He lives in Blue Earth.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Carla Nelson

    The third-term state senator and former member of the Minnesota House has served in the Legislature for 16 years. Despite losing the party endorsement, Nelson will face Jim Hagedorn in the Aug. 14 Republican primary.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 2
  • Angie Craig

    The DFL-endorsed candidate is making her second run for Congress after suffering a narrow defeat to Jason Lewis in 2016. Craig, a resident of Eagan, is a former medical device company executive.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jason Lewis (i)

    The first-term Republican and former conservative radio host from Woodbury has squared off with Minnesota's two senators over his measure to restructure the Metropolitan Council. He supported GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act but has also voiced support for allowing states to set their own marijuana laws.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 3
  • Erik Paulsen (i)

    The five-term GOP congressman from Eden Prairie was formerly a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, where he served as majority leader from 2003 to 2007. He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he helped shape last year's federal tax overhaul.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Dean Phillips

    Phillips, of Deephaven, is the heir to a Minnesota liquor fortune and an entrepreneur who helped launch Talenti Gelato and owner of Penny's Coffee in Minneapolis. He is the grandson of Pauline Friedman Phillips, creator of the "Dear Abby" advice column.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 4
  • Betty McCollum (i)

    McCollum is a nine-term DFLer from St. Paul who serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She got her start in politics on the North St. Paul City Council.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Gregory Ryan

    The Roseville Republican owns a heating and plumbing business in St. Paul. Ryan was McCollum's opponent in 2016 and previously sought a seat on the Ramsey Conservation District Board of Supervisors.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 5
  • Jamal Abdulahi

    A former refugee from the civil war in Somalia who settled in Minnesota in 1994, Abdulahi is a community organizer and the founder and first chair of the Somali American DFL Caucus. He is the president of a health care information startup and a former engineer for Lockheed Martin and United Technologies.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher

    Anderson Kelliher served six terms in the Minnesota House between 2000 and 2011, including two terms as House speaker, the second woman to hold the job. She received the DFL party endorsement for governor in 2010, but lost in the primary to Mark Dayton.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Ilhan Omar

    Omar has represented a Minneapolis district in the Minnesota House since 2017. As the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker and the first Muslim woman elected to a state legislature, she has attracted substantial national media attention.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Patricia Torres Ray

    A former candidate for lieutenant governor, Torres Ray is a three-term state senator representing a district that includes parts of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. She is the first known Latina woman elected to the body.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jennifer Zielinski

    A Republican activist and employee of Allina Health, Zielinski received the GOP endorsement at the 5th Congressional District convention on April 21. Zielenski, who lives in south Minneapolis, ran unsuccessfully for a Minneapolis Park Board seat in 2017.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 6
  • Tom Emmer (i)

    The second-term Republican from Delano, where he previously served on the city council, ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010. He sits on the Financial Services Committee and is the reigning champion of the Minnesota congressional delegation's annual hot dish competition.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Aliena (A.J.) Kern

    Kern is a former member of the Benton County Planning Commission and an ex-U.S. Army reservist, according to her campaign website. This is her second run for Congress, having challenged Emmer in 2016.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Ian Todd

    An Arkansas native and former Air Force intelligence analyst living in Sauk Rapids, Todd, a 27-year-old self-described progressive, is making his first bid for elected office.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 7
  • David Hughes

    The GOP-endorsed conservative is a Karlstad resident who served 21 years in the Air Force. Hughes is running to unseat Rep. Collin Peterson for the second time, having lost by a 5-percentage point margin in 2016.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Collin Peterson (i)

    The 14-term moderate DFLer from Detroit Lakes has represented the western Minnesota district since 1991. He is the ranking minority member on the Agriculture committee, which has authority over issues like farm subsidies and SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Matt Prosch

    A resident of Lake Benton, Prosch served in the National Guard for eight years and owns a trucking company.

    Website   Campaign finance

District 8
  • Kirsten Kennedy

    The second-term mayor of North Branch in Chisago County was born in Norway and became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of 21. A single mother of five, Kennedy also works as an independent health contractor.

    Campaign finance

  • Michelle Lee

    Lee is a former Duluth TV news anchor and resident of Moose Lake. A self-described progressive Democrat, she is making her first run for elected office.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Jason Metsa

    The DFLer from Virginia, Minn., has represented an Iron Range district in the Minnesota House since 2013. A former union organizer, Metsa has focused on mining issues in the Legislature.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Joe Radinovich

    Radinovich, of Crosby, is a former one-term DFL state representative who managed U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s 2016 re-election campaign and served briefly as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's chief of staff.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Ray "Skip" Sandman

    As member of the Green Party, Sandman received about 4 percent of the vote when he ran for the Eighth Congressional District seat in 2014. This time, he is running under the banner of the Independence Party of Minnesota.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Soren Sorensen

    Sorensen is a progressive activist living in Bemidji.

    Website   Campaign finance

  • Pete Stauber

    The retired police officer and current St. Louis County Commissioner from Hermantown is the only Republican running to replace DFL U.S. Rep Rick Nolan in the Eighth District, which President Donald Trump won by 16 points in 2016. Stauber played hockey in the Detroit Red Wings organization before his career in law enforcement.

    Website   Campaign finance

Other state offices

Attorney General
  • Sharon Anderson
  • Keith Ellison
  • Tom Foley
  • Debra Hilstrom
  • Robert Lessard
  • Matt Pelikan
  • Mike Rothman
  • Doug Wardlow
State Auditor
  • Julie Blaha
  • Pam Myhra
Secretary of State
  • John Howe
  • Steve Simon (i)

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley as a member of the Minnesota House. She is a Minnesota senator.

Candidates who live outside the state of Minnesota, lack a campaign website, have reported raising less than $1,000 or have withdrawn from a race may not be included.

Contributors: C.J. Sinner, Alan Palazzolo, Matt DeLong, Chase Davis, Pat Condon, J. Patrick Coolican and Ryan Fairchild, who was a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune