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Stakes high in state primary elections

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With much of the focus on the recent Republican National Convention and this week’s Democratic National Convention, it is important to not forget about the upcoming primary election in Minnesota, Aug. 9.

The Aug. 9 primary will decide several party races and a Minnesota Supreme Court judgeship as well, with the lone African-American on the state’s High Bench facing off against two challengers.

Associate Justice Natalie Hudson, who was appointed to the court by Gov. Mark Dayton this past October, is seeking her first voter selection when she faces off against Craig Foss, an associate professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and Michelle MacDonald.

In the 5th Congressional District, which encompasses much of Hennepin County, Rep. Keith Ellison faces two DFL challengers – Lee Bauer and Gregg Iverson. The winner faces off in November against Republican Frank Drake, who is running unopposed.

In Minnesota’s 4th District that includes St. Paul and most of Ramsey County, Rep. Betty McCollum is pitted against Steve Carlson on the DFL side while three Republicans vie for the chance to compete in November.

A bit further north in Minnesota’s 6th District, Rep. Tom Emmer will be seeking reelection for the first time as he faces primary challenges from Republicans A.J. Kern and Patrick Munro. On the DFL side in the 6th, Judy Adams, Bob Helland and David Snyder are running for the chance to move on as the party’s November candidate.

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion faces a DFL challenge in the form of Patwin Lawrence in Senate District 59. Lawrence is the former board chair of the Minnesota State Council on Black Minnesotans.

In Senate District 62, Sen. Jeff Hayden sees a DFL challenge from Mohamoud Hassan. Hassan is former co-host and producer of “Somali Voices,” a program aired on KFAI radio. Hayden is the Senate’s deputy majority leader.

Maybe the most interesting race to be decided Aug. 9 is the DFL race for state representative in District 60B. Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who has held her seat since 1973, faces stiff challenges from Somali-Americans Mohamud Noor and Ilhan Omar. District 60B has the highest concentration of Somali residents in the state. Noor and Omar have high profiles with Noor formerly serving on the Minneapolis Public Schools board and Omar having garnered the support of several politicians and organizations, including that of former Minneapolis mayor, R.T. Rybak. The district is strongly Democratic, but the winner will have a Republican challenger in Abdimalik Askar.

In State Representative District 59A incumbent, Rep. Joe Mullery sees a DFL challenge from Hmong-American, Fue Lee. Lee is a graduate from Patrick Henry High School and Carleton College.
Polls in Minnesota open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 9 and early absentee or in person voting is available now until Aug. 8.

Individuals are eligible to vote in Minnesota if they are a U.S. citizen at least 18-years-old who have resided in the state for at least 20 days before the election. Any voters who have moved or changed their name since they last voted must re-register. Unlike some other states, felons who have had their convictions completed, expired or discharged are eligible to vote.

Election judges needed for Nov. 8 election

Election judges are needed for the Nov. 8 general election. Election judges are paid $13.30 per hour for their service, which includes training. Judges who are fluent in a second language are especially needed to provide additional language support in the polling place, including Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Oromo, Lao, Vietnamese, Russian and American Sign Language.

Selection and placement of judges is based on qualifications of applicants and party balance within the precinct. Preference will be given to those willing to serve a full day in a precinct with a vacancy. For more information on becoming a judge, finding a polling place or finding voter registration, visit the secretary of state’s Website at www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting.

July 27, 2016
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