In a five-way primary to decide the 8th Congressional District Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee for November, Joe Radinovich always seemed to present the straightest line to election victory. Late Tuesday, Radinovich delivered on his promise and clinched a surprisingly effortless primary victory — one that lands him in a midterm showdown with another primary runaway winner, GOP nominee Pete Stauber of Hermantown.
Precincts were running out of primary election ballots between Hibbing and Eveleth late in the day Tuesday, forcing election judges to make copies for hand counting later, a St. Louis County election official said. “Hibbing and Eveleth ran out of ballots,” said Jason Metsa campaign spokesperson Alida Tieberg, the first to alert the News Tribune.
Tuesday is primary election day throughout Minnesota and big races are in play across both major parties. In the state's partisan primary, voters pick a side, Republican or Democratic-Farmer-Labor, and this time around are tasked with whittling down two U.S. Senate races, the 8th Congressional District race, and the state gubernatorial and attorney general races. The winners on each side in each race will face one another in the November midterm election.
When Tuesday's primary is all said and done, the tale of "How the 8th Congressional District DFL Was Won" is going to have its say about the role money plays in an election. A broad spectrum of candidates make up the five-person field of Democratic-Farmer-Laborers in the CD8 race — a mayor, part-time hotel clerk, retired newscaster and a pair of Iron Range-bred political veterans. Their levels of financial support have been as disparate as their backstories.
Vice President Mike Pence blew into and out of Duluth on Wednesday in less than four hours, promising while he was here to capitalize on an economy growing in chunks, he said, for the first time in 16 years. "It's going to happen," Pence said, talking about expansion into copper-nickel mining on the Iron Range. "Take it to the bank." Pence spoke for 15 minutes inside Industrial Weldors & Machinists, a 66-year-old business and machine shop located just off Interstate 35 at the 40th Avenue West exit.
On Tuesday, a weeklong direct voting period begins locally. Direct voting is a relatively new convention sandwiched between the traditional election day, in this case the Aug. 14 primary, and early voting, or absentee balloting, which starts 45 days ahead of an election and is generally conducted by mail. In the week prior to the 2016 presidential election, the direct voting period in Duluth saw more than 700 voters a day come through city hall, said assistant city clerk Roberta Pirkola.
Chelsea Helmer stood before a roomful of election judges in July. The Duluth city clerk was set to deliver a mandatory two-hour training in council chambers. Most of those present had been through the process before — one veteran judge had even helped conduct 40 elections. But this was no rote run-through of rules in the lead-up to a status quo election season. There was something telling in Helmer's introduction. "You are the front lines of democracy," she said. "The service you do for the city of Duluth is critically important, so thank you."
Giving oxygen to a two-week firestorm surrounding Rep. Rick Nolan, DFL-Minn., a group of a dozen or more activists marched into his downtown Duluth legislative office on Thursday, calling for the congressman to both resign and drop off the Lori Swanson gubernatorial ticket as its lieutenant governor candidate. "I feel like he needs to be held accountable," said local community organizer Ashley Northey.
ESKO — On a July day when everything was as summer should be, Davis Helberg made his way to a creek off of his yard. A walking stick in one hand, he stepped through a column of sunlight and patch of ferns to the lip of babbling water below. "In the springtime this thing is just roaring," he said, before reflecting: "As a boy, I played in this creek an awful lot." In the moment, one imagined the 77-year-old Helberg reduced to his boyhood self — in the late 1940s, casting a line into the same knuckle of water or racing along the sandy creek bed.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan expressed regret and resolve Friday in the face of a controversy which has some calling for him to resign. "Absolutely not," Nolan, DFL-Minnesota, told the News Tribune when asked if he would step down. "I haven't done anything wrong for which I should."