Daily Digest: Conventions over, now what?

Good morning, and happy Monday.  Both of Minnesota's political parties held their state conventions over the weekend, and surprisingly little has been decided about who will be on the ballot in November. Here's the Digest:

1. Who will be on the ballot for governor in November? Minnesota's major political parties are in for a long, hot summer of campaigning before they know who they'll present as the general-election candidates for governor. A pair of weekend conventions failed to deliver finality. Although some hopefuls knocked out of consideration, both Republicans and DFLers head toward August primaries with fierce competition. Republicans threw their party endorsement to Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who now has former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty to contend with. On the DFL side, state Rep. Erin Murphy won party backing but will face 1st District U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, and perhaps others, in the Aug. 14 primary. The complete picture will be known Tuesday when the deadline for filing for the ballot arrives. But the effort to draw contrasts is already in high gear. (MPR News)

2. Questions remain about the race for Senate too. Now that both political parties have weighed in at their state conventions the campaign for Minnesota’s two U.S. Senate seats begins, but the Democratic incumbents face greatly different challenges. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has reasons to be optimistic as she seeks a third six-year term, while Tina Smith is trying to move from an appointed senator to one chosen by voters. Klobuchar won her previous two elections by wide margins and took 85 of 87 counties in 2012. As of the end of March she had $6 million on hand for her reelection effort, and she is regularly mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate. Republicans endorsed state Rep. Jim Newberger as their candidate to face Klobuchar. He's not nearly as well known as the incumbent and at the last report had less than $12,000 on hand for his campaign. But Newberger insists that voters want a change and a conservative voice in Washington. Smith won a first-ballot endorsement over three DFL rivals at the state convention, whom she will likely face again in the August primary. Republicans endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley to run against Smith. (MPR News)

3. Murphy chooses Maye Quade for running mate. One day after winning the DFL Party’s backing for governor, Erin Murphy announced state Rep. Erin Maye Quade as her running mate, a longtime organizer who Murphy hopes will give her a boost among progressives heading into a competitive August primary race. Maye Quade is serving her first term in the House and previously worked for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison doing constituent services and organizing for DFL campaigns. She is a lifelong resident of Apple Valley, where she lives with her wife, Alyse, who also organizes for the DFL Party. During the last legislative session, Maye Quade gained national attention after she staged a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor to protest a lack of action on gun control proposals in the chamber. She was also part of a group of women who came forward publicly about experiencing sexual harassment by two legislators while she served in office.   Addressing the crowd of delegates gathered at the party's convention on Sunday in Rochester, Maye Quade talked about her time organizing for progressive issues and candidates, and her decision to run for the House in 2016 to combat childhood hunger in her district. "I was the only Democrat to flip a seat for the state House in 2016,” Maye Quade said. “Erin Murphy knows that Minnesotans don’t have time for timid and tippy-toe politics, and I’m joining her because I’m a leader and I’m a organizer. And leaders aren’t timid, we’re bold. And organizers don’t tippy-toe. We door knock, we march, we rally and we vote.” (MPR News)

4. What will Lori Swanson do? Minnesota Democrats on Saturday endorsed Minneapolis attorney and DFL activist Matt Pelikan for attorney general, an unexpected upset over incumbent DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson. Pelikan won after a strong showing on the first ballot, when he garnered 47 percent of the vote to Swanson’s 52 percent. After the first ballot, Swanson withdrew from the race for the endorsement. Swanson has already filed to run for a third term as attorney general and could head to a primary but she did not comment after withdrawing from the endorsement race. Pelikan was the only candidate to remain in the race for the endorsement against Swanson, who until earlier this year was considering jumping into the race for governor. When Swanson opted to run for another term as attorney general, the DFL field mostly cleared. Swanson hasn't revealed her next step. A spokesman said she was evaluating her options. (MPR News)

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