MN election landscape explodes in final hours of filing deadline; Northside is no exception

Minnesota politicos, who spent June 1-3 at their respective DFL and GOP conventions could never have imagined the changes to Minnesota’s election landscape that came about in the last 48 hours of the state’s candidate filing deadline, which closed at 5pm on June 5. 

June 12: This piece has been and will continue to be updated to reflect new developments in the primary election season. 

By Cirien Saadeh | Staff Reporter

Here is what Northsiders need to know: 

  • Lori Swanson announced on June 4 that she was running for the governor’s seat alongside retiring Congressman Rick Nolan (District 8) and withdrew her candidacy for Minnesota Attorney General after withdrawing her election for the DFL endorsement.
  • Following Swanson’s decision to vacate her attorney general seat and pursue the governorship, Congressman Keith Ellison (District 5) withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the US House of Representatives and announced that he will be instead running for the Minnesota Attorney General seat. Also in the race is the DFL-endorsed Matt Pelikan, an attorney and activist.

  • Ellison announced his decision to seek the Attorney General seat early June 5. By the end of business on June 5, 11 individuals — including At-Large Minneapolis Public Schools Board Member Kim Ellison had filed to run for Keith Ellison’s seat. Keith Ellison was endorsed by Governor Mark Dayton within hours of announcing his candidacy. State Senator Bobby Joe Champion had announced that he was seeking Congressman Ellison's congressional seat, but suspended his candidacy on June 11 which he announced via Facebook post. While it is too late for Champion to withdraw his name from his ballot, he has stated that he will be actively campaigning for his fellow democrats. "Serving in Congress would be a great honor for me in which I believe I would do a job that would make my family, community and the state of Minnesota proud," said Champion. "Notwithstanding, serving in the State Senate is a job that allows me to do many things for the good of our community. Working for our community is what matters most to me. All of us must dedicate ourselves to resisting the regressive forces that seek to make our beloved state move in the tragic direction that our neighboring Wisconsin has moved. We must stand together."

  • There are several individuals running for Hennepin County Commission (District 2), including DFL-endorsed Irene Fernando and former Minneapolis City Council members Natalie Johnson Lee and Blong Yang, both of whom represented Ward 5 in the early 2000s and mid-2010s respectively. Kim Ellison had also explored seeking this seat but did not receive the DFL endorsement and dropped out of the race.

  • Weeks ago, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced he was running for the gubernatorial election and that he we would forgo the endorsement process and go directly to the primary. His running mate is Michelle Fischbach, a Republican and former state senator — and President of the State Senate — who was appointed Lieutenant Governor (due to state statute) after former Senator Al Franken stepped down and former Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith became Minnesota’s junior senator.  Fischbach will be running for the same seat she currently holds, just with a different governor. At the same time, the GOP endorsed Jeff Johnson for Governor running alongside Donna Bergstrom.

  • The DFL endorsed Representative Erin Murphy (District 64A) for governor and State Rep Erin Maye Quade (District 57A) for lieutenant governor. Congressman Tim Walz (running along State Rep. Peggy Flanagan) had not committed to abiding to the endorsement process and plans to run in the primary despite not receiving the DFL endorsement. Between the DFL and the GOP, several others are also running for governor/lieutenant governor.

  • Both Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar are up for re-election. This will be the first time since the late 1970s that Minnesota has had both US Senate seats and the gubernatorial seat up for grabs in the same year.

  • Both Representative Raymond Dehn (59B) and Fue Lee (59A) are running for reelection for the State House seats. Neither is running unopposed in the primary. In the primary, Dehn will be running against Lisa Neal Delgado; Lee will be running against Grace Moua.  

  • There is no word yet on who will be running for Senator Bobby Joe Champion’s seat should he be elected to Congressman Ellison’s seat as Champion was not up for reelection to the State Senate this year. If he were to be elected to Congress, a special session would have to be called. If he is not elected, he would remain in his current post.

All candidates have until June 7 at 5pm to withdraw their candidacy if they so choose. Minnesota’s primary will be held on August 13. The General election will be held on November 6. Early voting and same-day registration are options for both election. Check out for more information.  

Cirien Saadeh