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Trump gets sole spot on Minnesota’s GOP primary ballot

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The President smile and claps.
President Trump applauds his supporters as he takes the stage inside of the Target Center in Minneapolis on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
Evan Frost | MPR News

President Trump is the only Republican candidate who will appear on Minnesota’s presidential primary ballot.

The state Republican Party submitted his name to the Secretary of State’s office last week. The state’s primary law gives the major political parties the power to designate who will appear on the ballot.

“President Trump is extremely popular in Minnesota and my job as Chairwoman is to make sure we deliver our 10 electoral votes to the President on November 3, 2020,” Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan said in a written statement.

The law says changes aren’t allowed after a slate is submitted.

Trump does have primary rivals who have served in high office. They include former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Joe Walsh of Illinois. 

Sanford called the party’s decision anti-democratic.

“We don’t want to be taking our electoral cues from North Korea. It makes us weaker as a party,” he said in an interview. “But most of all it is telling in terms of what the Trump campaign is looking at internally in looking on trying to avoid contest of ideas in a variety of states across the country.” 

The decision is perplexing if Trump is as strong as candidate as he says he is, Sanford added.

“In the world of politics if you have a chance to lock in an 80 or 90-percent win, you do it all day long.” 

Sanford said he doesn’t anticipate taking legal action to seek ballot access here, nor does he expect to campaign in a state where he can’t win votes.

Walsh responded to the news on Twitter.

The DFL Party has yet to submit its ballot for the March 3 primary, which falls on Super Tuesday. The DFL has until Dec. 31 to put that in.

The 2020 primary will be the first presidential primary in Minnesota since 1992, replacing the caucuses that had been used to express preferences in nomination races. The Legislature changed the law after a crush of caucus turnout in 2016 left many voters who wanted to participate frustrated

Minnesota doesn’t have party registration but voters can only participate in one party’s primary. The parties will get the rosters of voters who do take part, regardless of the party ballot chosen.