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Voters narrow field in Minnesota, Wisconsin races

The field of candidates who will vie for seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives came into clear focus Tuesday.

Travis Silvers edged out Carla Bayerl in the Republican primary for District 7B in western Duluth, setting him up to square off against freshman Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, in November. Silvers received 57 percent of the vote, to Bayerl’s 43 percent.

For Silvers, a 34-year-old independent building contractor, this will be his third run for the seat now held by Simonson, a 46-year-old assistant fire chief who faced no challenge from within his own party.

* In House District 6A, representing eastern Itasca and southwestern St. Louis counties, DFL incumbent Carly Melin of Hibbing easily defeated challenger John Finken of Warba, garnering 83 percent of the primary vote with about half of precincts reporting late Tuesday.

Come November, she’ll face Republican Roger Weber, a Nashwauk miner who ran unopposed to represent the Republican Party in the House race.

Melin, a 28-year-old attorney, was elected in February 2011 in a special election to fill the seat Rep. Tony Sertich left vacant when he left to serve as executive director of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

* In Wisconsin, with about 80 percent of precincts reporting, state Rep. Janet Bewley of Ashland held a sizable lead in the Democratic primary for State Senate District 25 to replace outgoing longtime Sen. Bob Jauch, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. If Bewley wins, she’ll face Republican Dane Deutsch in November.

In the Democratic primary for Bewley’s seat in the 74th Assembly District, Beth Meyers of Bayfield was leading Graham Garfield of Mason by a wide margin late Tuesday night. The winner will face Republican Jamey Francis.

* In the Democratic primary for Wisconsin governor, frontrunner Mary Burke easily defeated challenger Brett Hulsey. Wisconsin Democrats rallied early on around Burke, a former executive at Trek Bicycle, a company founded by her father.

She’ll face incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November. Walker and Burke have been statistically even in recent polls.

Reuters contributed to this report.