STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Midterm battlegrounds take shape in Midwest primaries

Two upper Midwestern states where Democrats hope to rebound in November's ...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 11:06 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 11:06 AM

Two upper Midwestern states where Democrats hope to rebound in November's midterm elections after losing ground to President Donald Trump in 2016 selected their candidates in a slew of major races Tuesday.

In Wisconsin, perhaps Trump's most surprising victory, Democrats selected state schools chief Tony Evers to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker, CNN projects, in the party's fourth -- and likely best -- shot at defeating him. Republicans, meanwhile, chose state Sen. Leah Vukmir, a darling of conservative talk radio and the Walker-led state GOP establishment, to challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Governors

Heads of government

Keith Ellison

Midwestern United States

Minnesota

North America

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Primaries and caucuses

Scott Walker

The Americas

United States

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US House of Representatives

US political parties

US Republican Party

Wisconsin

Midterm elections

Northeastern United States

Sex and gender issues

Society

Transgender persons

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

Vermont

2016 Presidential election

Demographic groups

Muslim people

Population and demographics

Tim Pawlenty

US House elections

CNN

Companies

In Minnesota, Democrats nominated Rep. Tim Walz for governor, CNN projects. Republicans, meanwhile, shockingly rejected former governor and 2012 presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty's comeback bid, instead tapping Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, CNN projects.

The two states will join Ohio, Michigan and Illinois on the list of Midwestern battlegrounds with governor's offices on the ballot this fall that Democrats believe they can win.

Those primary wins came on a night that Vermont Democrats chose the first transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major political party, Minnesotans selected a congressional candidate who is likely to become one of the first two Muslim women in Congress and Connecticut nominated a former National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, for the House.

Vermont picks transgender woman for governor

Christine Hallquist will win her Democratic primary in Vermont, CNN projects, becoming the first transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major political party.

Her victory is a breakthrough of both substantial and symbolic importance for LGBTQ Americans, in particular the trans community, which has for so long been shut out of the highest levels of elected office.

After outlasting a field of four Democratic hopefuls, one of them a teenage boy, she will now take on Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who will survive his GOP primary challenge, CNN projects.

CNN projects incumbent Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democratic Party, will win the Democratic nomination in Vermont. As he has done previously, he is expected to decline the party's nomination and then run as an independent in the general election.

Minnesota governor's race

Unlike Wisconsin, Minnesota hasn't totally slipped out of the grasp of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party -- but the question is how long the party can hold onto power there.

Already, the GOP controls the state House and Senate.

Trump finished less than two percentage points behind Hillary Clinton there in 2016, raising fears from the left that with a comeback by Pawlenty, the former Republican governor, the state could soon be ruled exclusively by Republicans for the first time in a half-century and face the same sorts of policies, like the union-busting stripping of collective bargaining for public employees, that Walker enacted next door.

Democrats chose Walz over state Rep. Erin Murphy and Attorney General Lori Swanson, who was the best-known candidate.

Swanson's campaign faced a late controversy over The Intercept's report in which former staffers said she had pressured those working in the attorney general's office to also perform campaign work -- charges Swanson has denied.

In the Republican primary, Pawlenty had been expected by national party strategists to sail to the GOP's nomination. But Johnson, the 2014 nominee, won the state party's endorsement when Pawlenty skipped the convention, and offered himself as a more Trump-like option.

Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary

The most significant grip on power that Wisconsin Democrats have is Baldwin's seat. There, Republicans nominated Vukmir over businessman and veteran Kevin Nicholson.

What drew national eyes to the race is that Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein has pumped nearly $11 million into groups supporting Nicholson -- making for a highly unusual tie between a politician and his corporate benefactor.

Baldwin has held a clear lead in recent public polls, but Republicans have long believed that the Walker-built political machine and the state's rightward drift could make her a surprisingly ripe target in November.

Race to replace Paul Ryan

Ironworker Randy "Iron Stache" Bryce, an internet sensation who sought to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan before Ryan announced his retirement, defeated teacher Cathy Myers, CNN projects, in what's been a bitter contest locally for the 1st District Democratic congressional nomination in Wisconsin.

Other key House primaries Tuesday come in Minnesota's 1st and 8th districts, perhaps the two most endangered seats currently held by Democrats on the map. Both incumbents are leaving to run for higher office.

Ellison wins after abuse accusations

Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic National Committee deputy chair and a favorite of Bernie Sanders' backers, won the Democratic nomination to become Minnesota's next attorney general, CNN projects, positioning him to fight the Trump administration in court.

His win comes despite accusations over the weekend from Ellison's ex-girlfriend of domestic abuse, which he flatly denied.

In the race to replace Ellison, Democrats nominated state Rep. Ilhan Omar, CNN projects, a Muslim Somali-American progressive woman who is backed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Since both come from safe districts, she is likely to join Rashida Tlaib, who won a congressional primary in Michigan, as one of the first two Muslim women in Congress.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 17°
Albert Lea
Overcast
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 20°
Austin
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 24°
Charles City
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Rochester
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 20°
Light snow and steady temps
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Dan Feehan campaigns against so-called "Dark Money"

Image

Constant snow forcing homeowners to clear sidewalks again and again

Image

Minn DOT stocked with salt for winter

Image

Connecting those in need with local resources

Image

One-on-One with Dan Feehan

Image

Chris' PM Weather Forecast 1/24

Image

Norton at Mayor's conference

Image

Expanding rural broadband

Image

Mason City schools work with Iowa INET

Image

Snow Plow Safety Course for Kids

Community Events