A brief look at races and questions on the Nov. 6 ballot in Minnesota:President: With Minnesota expected to go for President Obama this year, he and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have spent little time or money here. They also have spent little time discussing issues of specific interest to rural Minnesota. Ten presidential candidates’ names will be on the Minnesota ballot.U.S. Senate: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, has maintained large leads in polls as she ends her first six-year term. Republican challenger Kurt Bills, a one-term state House member and an economics teacher, has had little money to compete. Tim Davis of the Grassroots Party is a disabled and retired blue-collar worker who ran for U.S. House in 1988 and 2002. Michael Cavlan, who will be listed as a Minnesota Open Progressives member on the ballot, is a nurse running against Klobuchar for the second straight election.Constitutional amendments: Voters will be asked to decide on two questions: whether to amend the state Constitution to define a marriage as only between a man and a woman; and whether to require voters to produce photo IDs before casting ballots.1st Congressional District: Longtime Republican activist Allen Quist won a hard-fought party primary election. Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has been in the U.S. House since 2007 after military and teaching careers.2nd Congressional District: Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline is chairman of the House education and labor committee, one of the most powerful in the House. Democrat Mike Obermueller served one term in the state House before losing in his second election.3rd Congressional District: Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen served in the state House, including as majority leader, before being elected to Congress in 2008. Democrat Brian Barnes was a business manager and is a Navy Reserve veteran.4th Congressional District: Republican Tony Hernandez, who worked for a bank, decided to run after recovering from massive injuries sustained when a man threw a rock off an overpass onto his car on the freeway below. Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum served in the Minnesota House before being elected to the U.S. House in 2000. The Independence Party’s Steve Carlson is a writer and consultant.5th Congressional District: Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, has been congressman since 2007, after serving in the state House. Republican challenger Chris Fields is a 21-year Marine veteran and South Bronx native.6th Congressional District: Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in office since 2007, ran for president before dropping out of the race earlier this year. Democratic challenger Jim Graves, a one-time professional singer, founded AmericInn motels and operates a hotel and restaurant company.7th Congressional District: Collin Peterson is the top-ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee and has been in Congress since 1991. Republican Lee Byberg, making his second run at Peterson, is a businessman who was raised in Brazil, Paraguay and Norway by Christian missionary parents. The Independence Party’s Adam Steele lives in Bemidji and said that he is running to “either bring constitutional justice to northern Minnesota or, alternatively, if the state cannot follow the highest law of the land, then to insist that Minnesota be expelled from the United States.”8th Congressional District: Republican Chip Cravaack upset longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar two years ago in a race that gained national attention. Democratic challenger Rick Nolan is returning to politics after serving three terms in the U.S. House more than 30 years ago.Supreme Court: Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea is challenged by Dan Griffith, Justice Barry Anderson by Dean Barkley and Justice David Stras by Tim Tingelstad.Legislature: All 201 House and Senate seats will be up for election.
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