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Primary election August 14 will shape key races

Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 27, 2018

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS —Minnesota voters will go to the polls Tuesday, August 14 to decide DFL and Republican primary contests for key races including U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, and Attorney General. In addition, races for many local and county offices also have non-partisan primary contests. The winners will advance to the November 6 general election.

See list of AFL-CIO endorsed candidates.

See profiles of AFL-CIO endorsed candidates in key primary contests.



U.S. Senate:
AFL-CIO endorses Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith


Both of Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seats will be on the primary and general election ballots because of a special election to fill the vacancy created by Al Franken’s resignation.

In the DFL primary, the Minnesota AFL-CIO has endorsed incumbent Amy Klobuchar for re-election and, in the special election primary contest, Tina Smith. Both Klobuchar and Smith are running with the DFL Party’s endorsement.

Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Mark Dayton to fill the vacancy when Franken resigned.

Smith ran with Dayton as his Lieutenant Governor for his second term and previously served as chief-of-staff in his first term.

Fifth District U.S. House:
No AFL-CIO endorsement


With incumbent Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison running for Minnesota Attorney General, the DFL primary contest for the Fifth District U.S. House seat has attracted several candidates. The Minnesota AFL-CIO did not endorse in this race.

The leading candidates (in alphabetical order) include Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives who served six terms in the House; Ilhan Omar, first-term State Representative, who won the DFL endorsement; and Patricia Torres Ray, who is serving her fourth term in the Minnesota Senate.

Minnesota Governor:
No AFL-CIO endorsement


After two terms, Governor Mark Dayton is not running for re-election and Minnesota’s unions have split their endorsements in the DFL primary race to choose his successor. The Minnesota AFL-CIO has not endorsed in the race.

The leading candidates (in alphabetical order) include: State Representative Erin Murphy, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, and First District U.S. Congressman Tim Walz.

Erin Murphy won the DFL Party’s endorsement at its state convention in June. She is serving her sixth term in the Minnesota House, representing District 64A in St. Paul. A registered nurse, Murphy is a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association and served as MNA’s executive director. Her labor endorsements include: AFSCME Council 5, Minnesota Nurses Association, National Nurses United, and SEIU Minnesota State Council. Murphy’s running mate for lieutenant governor is first-term State Representative Erin Maye Quade.

Lori Swanson is serving her third term as Minnesota Attorney General. Her labor endorsements include Teamsters Local 120. Swanson’s running mate is Eighth District U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan, who has served six terms in the U.S. House and two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Tim Walz has served six terms representing Minnesota’s First Congressional District. Prior to running for Congress, he was a high school teacher in Mankato and a member of Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union. Two-term State Representative Peggy Flanagan is Walz’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

Walz has the greatest number of labor endorsements. A partial list includes: American Federation of Government Employees, Education Minnesota, IBEW Minnesota State Council, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, Ironworkers Local 512, Laborers District Council of Minnesota & North Dakota, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, Minnesota Pipe Trades, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, Painters District Council 82, Sheet Metal Workers Local 10, Teamsters Joint Council 32, United Steelworkers District 11.

Minnesota Attorney General:
No AFL-CIO endorsement


The Minnesota Attorney General’s race, with Lori Swanson not running for re-election, has attracted five candidates for the DFL primary contest. In alphabetical order, they include: Keith Ellison, Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom, Matt Pelikan, and Mike Rothman. The Minnesota AFL-CIO has not endorsed in this race.

Keith Ellison has served as Fifth District U.S. Representative for six terms and previously served two terms in the Minnesota House. His labor endorsements in this race include: American Federation of Government Employees, CWA Minnesota State Council, Laborers District Council, SEIU Minnesota State Council, Teamsters Local 120, UFCW Local 1189.

Tom Foley previously served four terms as Ramsey county attorney.

Debra Hilstrom is a nine-term member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Her labor endorsements include: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way, Teamsters Joint Council 32, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters.
Attorney Matt Pelikan won the DFL endorsement at the party’s state convention in June.

Mike Rothman has served as Minnesota’s Commerce Commissioner under Governor Mark Dayton.

Visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, mnvotes.org, for voting information, your sample ballot, and links to candidate websites.



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