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DFL endorses Craig, Phillips to challenge GOP incumbents Lewis, Paulsen

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DFLer Angie Craig will face incumbent Jason Lewis in this year's race for the Second Congressional District seat.  Party delegates chose Craig on the first ballot at their nominating convention Saturday.

The former medical device company executive narrowly lost to Lewis in 2016, and faces him again in November in the south Twin Cities metro district.

In the west metro's third district, DFLers chose business executive Dean Phillips to take on Republican Erik Paulsen, who's also running for re-election. 

The most unpredictable race is in northeastern Minnesota, where DFLer Rick Nolan has chosen not to run for re-election in the Eighth District, which President Donald Trump won easily two years ago. 

After 10 rounds of balloting, none of the five candidates could muster enough votes for the DFL endorsement. 

The Duluth News Tribune reports Leah Phifer of Isanti led the pack, followed by former state Rep. Joe Radinovich. 

However it's not clear if Phifer will run in November. In a statement Sunday, her campaign manager Sue Hakes said the team "will assess the resources and strategy moving forward before deciding about filing for a primary."

Former television anchor Michelle Lee vowed to remain in the race, despite being eliminated from contention for the endorsement. The newspaper reported that North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy and Rep. Jason Metsa each said they would bow out. 

However Metsa issued a statement Sunday saying he plans to run "a robust grassroots campaign" in the primary. 

Primary voters will decide who'll take on the likely Republican nominee, St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber. 

The Eighth District GOP convention is set for May 5 in Park Rapids.