Party-endorsed candidates win Tuesday

Party-endorsed candidates win Tuesday

The Minnesota primary election turned out to be a good day for party-endorsed candidates.

Moorhead activist and human rights advocate Heather Keeler, in her first foray into politics, soundly defeated Chuck Hendrickson for the opportunity to run for the District 4A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She would replace Rep. Ben Lien, who served four terms at the Capitol before declining to run again this year. Keeler won the DFL endorsement last February in the district caucus, which had been moved online due to the pandemic. A member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, she was instrumental in the decision to establish Indigenous Peoples Day last year, replacing Columbus Day.

Hendrickson, a second-term member of the Moorhead City Council, decided to challenge her in the primary. He focused on advocacy in St. Paul for local infrastructure projects, including the Clay County Transfer Station and the 11th Street rail underpass.

As of Wednesday morning, the Minnesota secretary of state reported Keeler with 66% of the vote, or 1,872. Hendrickson received 33%, or 956. The endorsed Republican candidate, who was unopposed on the ballot, received 844 votes.

In another race of regional interest, the Democratic-Farmer Labor and Republican candidates endorsed by their parties also came out on top across the 7th Congressional District, which includes Clay County.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson netted 76%, or 25,031, of the DFL vote to compete for a 16th two-year term in Congress. First elected in 1990, he is the longest-serving Minnesota Congressman. Other names on the DFL side of the ballot were Alycia Gruenhagen, with 16% of the votes, and Stephen Emory, with 8%.

Former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach brought home 59% of votes, or 24,363, in the Republican column (as of early Wednesday). The endorsed candidate had faced four challengers – two-time past candidate Dave Hughes, who received 22% (9,115); Noel Collis, 15% (6,134); William Louwagie, 2.3%; and Jayesun Israel Sherman, 1.3%. Of the four, Collis’s challenge drew the greatest attention in the race, thanks to more than $500,000 in sometimes-clever TV ads that saturated the 7th District over the sunner. The Albany physician and medical device inventor financed his own campaign.

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