Minnesota poised to get two new major pot parties

After all the votes are tallied and certified in the 2018 midterm election, Democrats won't be the only political party to make gains.

The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party and the Legal Marijuana Now Party both managed to garner at least 5 percent of the vote in the statewide attorney general and state auditor race, respectively, crossing the threshold needed to earn major party status in the state.

The secretary of state's office said preliminary results show both parties had the votes needed to earn major party status, but the office was still canvasing results of the election to make sure they also earned at least one vote in each of Minnesota's 87 counties. That process won't be finalized until late November, but a review by MPR News showed both candidates earned at least one vote in every county in the state.

Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis candidate Noah Johnson got nearly 6 percent of the vote in the attorney general's race Tuesday, which was ultimately won by Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison. Ellison was dogged by an allegation of domestic abuse, which he denied, and Wardlow was criticized by Democrats as a polarizing. The divisiveness of the race gave Johnson an opening to pick up votes, despite the fact that he endorsed Ellison in the final stretch of the campaign.

Michael Ford earned more than 5 percent of the vote in the four-way open race for state auditor, which was won by Democrat Julie Blaha.

They will likely become major political parties in Minnesota next year starting Jan. 1.

Major parties get automatic access to the ballot, and their candidates for office can qualify to receive state subsidies. It can also help candidates gain attention and entrance into debates with candidates in Minnesota's other major political parties, DFL and Republicans.

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