No primary surprisesTop 3 senate candidates win; Davis to face Walz
By: Scott Wente, Worthington Daily Globe
ST. PAUL — Minnesota voters on Tuesday narrowed 16 U.S. Senate candidates down to the three who were favored all along.
Comedian Al Franken beat attorney Priscilla Lord Faris and five others in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party primary, and Sen. Norm Coleman trounced token challenger Jack Shepard on the Republican side. Dean Barkley whipped six other Independence Party candidates.
“The battle begins,” said Coleman, who took more than 90 percent of the GOP vote, adding that voters will have a clear choice between himself and Franken. “I look forward to a vigorous campaign.”
Franken had a 66 percent to 29 percent lead over Faris with 61 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial election results. Franken said he has been targeting Coleman all along.
“Minnesotans know that we’re going in the wrong direction and they know that we need a change,” Franken said, adding he would be “a senator that’s going to be fighting for them every day.”
Barkley beat former IP Chairman Jack Uldrich, party-endorsed Stephen Williams and four others. He had 60 percent of the vote with 61 percent of precincts reporting, five times more than his closest challenger.
Barkley said he will start raising money today as he tries to defeat Coleman and Franken, each of whom is raising millions of dollars.
He expects the other six Independence candidates to rally around his campaign. “We are all friends,” he said.
“Obviously, the first thing I'm going to do tomorrow is to raise money,” Barkley added moments after he won his race.
Minnesota voters settled other statewide, congressional and local primary races Tuesday.
Three endorsed Republican candidates for Congress each faced a primary. Brian Davis was declared the winner in southern Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District GOP contest, where he held a 62 percent to 38 percent advantage over Dick Day with more than half of precincts reporting.
In western Minnesota's 7th District, Glen Menze had the party backing in his bid against Alan Roebke, but struggled to gain an early lead. Menze led Roebke 53 percent to 47 percent with 74 percent of the western Minnesota precincts reporting.
The Associated Press called freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann the winner over challenger Aubrey Immelman in the Twin Cities-area race.
Two Minnesota Supreme Court justices — Paul H. Anderson and Lorie Gildea — advanced to the general election.
Faris, an attorney whose family is well-connected in Minnesota legal circles, was the most visible of Franken’s challengers. She planned to spend up to $300,000 to run against Franken, who has raised millions but largely ignored the primary battle to focus on the general election.
Barkley is a Jesse Ventura pal who was appointed to the Senate by the former governor after the late Sen. Paul Wellstone died in an airplane crash. He touted his brief experience in the Senate and name recognition. Uldrich ran a mostly Web-based campaign, citing his military credentials and willingness to tackle tough issues most politicians avoid.
Coleman paid little attention to Shepard. The challenger has run for statewide office before and was campaigning from Rome, Italy, where he lives to avoid legal problems in Minnesota.
In Nobles County, incumbent Diane Thier captured 318 votes and Daryl Behrends 124 to earn the right to face off in November for the Nobles County, District 2, commission seat. Frank Wieneke garnered 60 votes. A total of 1,320 votes were cast in Nobles County; there are 10,049 registered voters.
In Jackson County, William Tusa (251 votes) and incumbent Craig Rubis (98) will meet in November in a race for the Jackson County, District 1, commission seat. Mike Handzus had 79 votes Tuesday; there are 6,432 registered voters in the county.
In Murray County, with 25 of 29 precincts reporting as of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, incumbent Robert Moline had 143 votes in the Murray County, District 2, race. Jamie Thomazin and Jeff Carlson each had 91 votes, and Robert Ossefort had 77.
Wente works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe. Justine Wettschreck and Ryan McGaughey contributed to this report.