Primaries set the stage for November

Karlee Weinmann

Tuesday’s primaries held few surprises while narrowing the field of candidates to one per party, per office in preparation for November’s general election.

Candidates continued to campaign until the last minute. DFL gubernatorial candidate Becky Lourey appeared on campus Monday in hopes of garnering student support before the primary.

Curt Baker, a first-year Carlson School of Management student and a first-time voter, said he voted to become integrated in the political process.

“It’s your chance to make it happen if there’s something you want changed,” he said. “It’s exciting to be part of the process, because now I have a say.”

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Kennedy proved popular among his party’s voters. With the party’s endorsement, he handily defeated John Uldrich and Harold Shudlick with more than 90 percent of the vote.

Similarly, the DFL endorsee for the same Senate seat won the vote decisively. Amy Klobuchar defeated Darryl Stanton by a wide margin, also earning more than 90 percent of the vote.

Independence Party Senate candidate Robert Fitzgerald bested Miles W. Collins and Stephen Williams to gain the primary victory for that party.

The three candidates each took some of the vote, though Fitzgerald took more than half of it. Collins and Williams split the remainder.

Stub & Herb’s owner Sue Jeffers unsuccessfully challenged Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, who went on to win by a vast margin.

“It’s been the greatest experience of my life Ö to stand up to an unfriendly media and a political machine and say Minnesota voters deserve better,” she said.

With the victory, Pawlenty can adjust his focus to the general election.

“The voters now have a clear choice before them,” Pawlenty said in a news release. “Under my leadership we’re moving Minnesota forward. Ö In the next four years, we’ll bring additional accountability to government and continue to hold the line on taxes so Minnesotans can keep more of their paychecks and we can keep growing jobs.”

DFL gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Mike Hatch will challenge Pawlenty in November after defeating Becky Lourey.

“We’ve pretty much focused on Pawlenty this entire election,” Hatch said. “The logic is to stay focused on what were doing – and the polls seem to indicate that.”

In the general election, Pawlenty and Hatch will face the Independence Party’s Peter Hutchinson. Hutchinson won his party’s race against Pam Ellison.

Hutchinson said the Independence Party has a base of 400,000 to 500,000 people, but in the end students will decide the race.

“Students are going to decide the outcome of this campaign,” he said.

In the race for secretary of state, Independence Party candidate Joel Spoonheim and Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer ran unopposed.

The DFL race for the same position generated some competition between hopefuls “Dick” Franson and Mark Ritchie. Ritchie gained a majority of the vote, earning the opportunity to face Spoonheim and Kiffmeyer in the general election.

Jeff Johnson won the Republican primary for the Attorney General seat, defeating Sharon Anderson.

But with almost three-fourths of precincts reporting at press time, the DFL and Independence Party races for attorney general were too close to call.

– Conrad Wilson contributed to this report.