Ballots are set for fall contest

The Minnesota Daily

Ray Tricomo upset his party’s endorsed candidate to become the Green Party’s official U.S. Senate candidate, and Carol Johnson prevailed in the DFL state auditor’s race in two closely contested primary contests Tuesday.

As of press time Tuesday, 74 percent of precincts had been reported in all the primary races.

Other major-party races offered little suspense and no surprises as voters picked each party’s slate of candidates for the Nov. 5 general elections.

Ray Tricomo defeats Ed McGaa

the Green Party U.S. Senate race had been expected to be a close contest after revelations last week that McGaa, the party’s endorsed candidate, participated in a controversial 1980s plan involving sewage ash transferal.

Tricomo garnered 58 percent of the vote, while MaGaa received 42 percent.

“The Green Party may be the last, best hope for this country,” Tricomo said from his Oakdale home.

Some delegates to the party’s state convention feared endorsing a Green Senate candidate would draw support away from incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone, who is seeking re-election.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel withdrew his support for McGaa last week after media reports of McGaa’s involvement in the sewage ash project, which McGaa has defended as environmentally legitimate.

McGaa was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

Greens pick Pentel for governor’s race

green Party-endorsed Pentel and running mate Rhoda Gilman defeated Richard Klatte and Mark Allan Hanson to become the party’s official candidates for governor.

Pentel, one of the party’s leading organizers, was supported by 80 percent of delegates at the party’s May convention and received 0.3 percent of the vote in the 1998 gubernatorial race.

DFL results

it didn’t rival the four-way DFL Senate primary of 2000 or the high-budget campaigning of 1998, but the DFL primaries were not entirely suspenseless.

With 52 percent of the vote, Carol Johnson edged out opponents Gregory Gray and Gregg Iverson, who received 36 percent and 12 percent respectively, in the closely watched DFL primary for state auditor.

“I stand on my qualifications,” Johnson said. “I am ready to do the job because of all my experience as state treasurer.”

Before the primary, Johnson said she hoped voters would look beyond endorsements.

“I believe that we live in a democratic society where people can vote where they wish,” Johnson said.

With 10 years of internal auditing at four large Minnesota corporations, Gray, an attorney, was the only candidate who had done official auditing.

“If they say ‘no’ then you move on,” Gray said of his defeat. “There’s always another fight on the horizon.”

Less contested were the top races for senate and governor.

Roger Moe and running mate Julie Sabo, the DFL-endorsed candidates, were officially chosen for the gubernatorial race, securing 88 percent of the vote, over Minneapolis artist Ole Savior and running mate Doug Lalone.

With 93 percent of the vote, two-time incumbent Paul Wellstone defeated challengers Dick Franson and Alve Erickson.

Incumbent candidate Mike Hatch was uncontested in the nomination for state attorney general. The DFL has held the attorney general position since 1971.

Independence Party outcomes

former Democratic congressman Tim Penny defeated Bill Dahn and secured the Independence Party’s gubernatorial nomination with 96 percent of the vote.

“Who would’ve believed that without an incumbent governor we’re still in the thick of things,” Penny said of his party.

Party-endorsed businessman Jim Moore defeated William McGaughey and Ronald E. Wills for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination, as St. Joseph resident Dave Hutcheson had a narrow lead over Todd Paulson at press time Tuesday to become the party’s November candidate for the state auditor position.

“It all starts with a spark, and this is that spark,” Moore said. “The Minnesota people are tired of politics as usual.”

Dean Alger of Minneapolis ran unopposed for the party’s secretary of state nomination.

GOP results

house majority leader Tim Pawlenty received the official nomination as the Republican gubernatorial candidate, with 89 percent of the vote, over opponent Leslie Davis.

“I have been a strong supporter of funding education,” Pawlenty said of his track record. “Education was my ticket to opportunity.”

Pawlenty earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and law degree from the University.

University political science senior Jed Ipsen, attorney general candidate Tom Kelly’s political director, said he thinks Pawlenty’s leadership would be much different than that of Gov. Jesse Ventura.

“I think Tim would take the threat of terrorism more seriously than Jesse has,” Ipsen said. “He would be for doing all we can to prevent terrorism.”

Former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman garnered 93 percent of the vote, defeating University alumnus Jack Shepard for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, and will face Wellstone in the general election.

Pat Awada won her bid for the Republican state auditor nomination over Jual Carlson, and Kelly defeated Sharon Anderson for the GOP’s attorney general nomination.

Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer ran uncontested in the position of secretary of state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Reporters Libby George, Nathan Hall, Monica LaBelle and Andrew Pritchard gathered information for this story.