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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.

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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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 99134

Reported Deaths: 2089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27728936
Ramsey11209325
Dakota7724127
Anoka6343138
Stearns411925
Washington395055
Scott266333
Olmsted254428
Nobles197916
St. Louis174742
Blue Earth17437
Wright17137
Clay145741
Carver14517
Rice13518
Mower13486
Sherburne118514
Kandiyohi10573
Winona92318
Lyon7384
Waseca7228
Benton5683
Crow Wing56318
Steele5602
Nicollet55317
Freeborn5484
Watonwan5354
Chisago5221
Todd5142
McLeod5032
Le Sueur4804
Beltrami4735
Otter Tail4734
Martin46211
Goodhue3929
Douglas3622
Pine3610
Itasca35616
Polk3344
Isanti3241
Becker2862
Carlton2861
Morrison2802
Dodge2680
Pipestone23910
Chippewa2331
Cottonwood2290
Meeker2142
Wabasha2080
Sibley2033
Yellow Medicine2003
Brown1992
Cass1884
Rock1841
Redwood1805
Murray1762
Mille Lacs1723
Renville1638
Jackson1541
Unassigned15453
Faribault1490
Swift1451
Houston1350
Fillmore1340
Kanabec1318
Hubbard1261
Roseau1250
Koochiching1234
Pennington1201
Lincoln1180
Stevens1071
Pope1000
Aitkin881
Big Stone830
Wadena730
Lac qui Parle721
Wilkin713
Grant644
Lake610
Norman580
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse360
Clearwater320
Lake of the Woods241
Kittson120
Cook70

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 88834

Reported Deaths: 1349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16204264
Woodbury568268
Johnson520327
Black Hawk455992
Linn4199115
Story350717
Dubuque347443
Scott312829
Dallas286038
Pottawattamie222539
Buena Vista202612
Marshall180235
Sioux17533
Wapello134557
Webster132714
Plymouth119121
Clinton115222
Muscatine113856
Crawford11176
Cerro Gordo107622
Warren9726
Jasper88334
Des Moines8249
Marion7799
Henry7774
Tama75732
Carroll7115
Lee6667
Wright6031
Dickinson5546
Boone5328
Bremer5137
Washington49311
Delaware4663
Louisa43915
Mahaska43520
Lyon3904
Jackson3683
Floyd3575
Franklin35318
Clay3504
Winneshiek3468
Benton3441
Hamilton3373
Poweshiek3278
Winnebago32514
Hardin3111
Buchanan2991
Jones2953
Kossuth2900
Butler2802
Emmet27910
Shelby2781
Sac2750
Chickasaw2741
Clayton2713
Guthrie27110
Clarke2703
Harrison2705
Cherokee2692
Allamakee2656
Cedar2561
Madison2452
Fayette2402
Grundy2294
Iowa2291
Palo Alto2140
Page2080
Hancock2032
Mills2031
Humboldt1963
Calhoun1953
Mitchell1950
Howard1937
Cass1812
Osceola1810
Pocahontas1682
Monona1671
Monroe16311
Lucas1596
Union1463
Appanoose1443
Taylor1431
Jefferson1411
Ida1352
Davis1304
Fremont1250
Van Buren1221
Keokuk1201
Worth1100
Greene1090
Montgomery1005
Audubon911
Wayne893
Adair761
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams380
Unassigned40
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