Businessman wins Minnesota Senate primary
A businessman swept to an easy victory Tuesday for the Republican Senate nomination in Minnesota, setting up a matchup with Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in the November election in which Republicans hope to regain control of the Senate.
Mike McFadden argued he was the only candidate who could raise enough money to take on Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian. Franken won election six years ago in a closely contested race that was decided in a recount, but is favored to win re-election.
After the Republican Party endorsed McFadden in May, the only credible challenger to stay in the primary race was state Rep. Jim Abeler, who ran a shoestring campaign from a reconditioned ambulance and raised only about $146,000. McFadden brought in $4.3 million.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business lobbying group, endorsed McFadden earlier this month, and the national party tapped him to deliver its weekly radio address last Saturday.
Primaries were also held Tuesday in Connecticut and Wisconsin.
In Minnesota’s gubernatorial primary, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson emerged from a four-way Republican primary field for the right to take on Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
Johnson had won the party’s endorsement, which meant a presumed edge in a low-turnout election.
Johnson faces a tough campaign against Dayton, who has scored well in approval polls and enjoys a state economy that’s outperforming most of its neighbors. Dayton also can point to legislative achievements that include a minimum wage increase and legalized gay marriage.
In a congressional race, Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost the 2010 governor’s race to Dayton, cruised to victory in the Republican primary for the 6th District seat being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann, an outspoken conservative who has called for President Barack Obama’s impeachment. Emmer, who has spent the past two years on conservative talk radio, is the favorite in Minnesota’s most conservative district.
In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is back on the ballot in November, seeking re-election to an office he’s already won twice — first in 2010, and again in a 2012 recall election. And if he wins in November, he could be on ballots again in 2016 as a candidate for president.
Former Trek Bicycles executive Mary Burke easily won the Democratic nomination to face Walker.
In Connecticut, businessman Tom Foley won the Republican primary for governor, setting up a rematch with Democrat Dannel P. Malloy, who narrowly defeated him four years ago and is seeking a second term.
Foley, a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland under President George W. Bush, had the Republican Party endorsement in his primary race against Senate Minority Leader John McKinney.
The wide-ranging gun control law passed after the December 2012 school shootings in Newtown figured prominently in the primary campaign. McKinney, a veteran legislator whose district includes Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, defended his work to help craft the bipartisan legislation. Foley avoided outlining specific concerns with the law but said he disapproved of restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.
Associated Press writers Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut, Doug Glass in Minneapolis, and M.L. Johnson in Milwaukee contributed to this report.