Putting Minnesota’s primary voting into perspective

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

If you’re reading this, chances are you paid at least passing attention to the big primary election in Minnesota Tuesday. And now that we’ve got more detailed results, here are some charts to put the voting into perspective.

Governor

Is the urban-rural divide a real thing or just a political construct used to divide people? Either way, it comes up a lot, so let’s look at how Minnesota’s main governor hopefuls fared among the state’s rural, city and suburban residents.

On the Republican side, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson beat former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty by 9 percentage points, 53-44. So where did his votes come from? Everywhere, it turns out. Johnson’s support outpaced Pawlenty’s in Greater Minnesota, in the Twin Cities suburbs — and in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Urban core, metro suburbs and greater Minnesota votes by Republican gubernatorial candidate
Urban core includes all precincts within Minneapolis and St. Paul city limits. Metro suburbs include suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties, plus Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties. Greater Minnesota includes 80 non-Twin Cities metro counties.
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

On the DFL side, U.S. Rep Tim Walz, who has represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District since 2007, emerged the winner. He got 42 percent of the vote, compared to 32 percent for Rep. Erin Murphy and 25 percent for Attorney General Lori Swanson. Walz’s biggest biggest margin was in Greater Minnesota, but he also did better than his opponents in the Twin Cities suburbs.

Urban core, metro suburbs and greater Minnesota votes by DFL gubernatorial candidate
Urban core includes all precincts within Minneapolis and St. Paul city limits. Metro suburbs include suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties, plus Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties. Greater Minnesota includes all 80 non-Twin Cities metro counties.
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

If Minneapolis and St. Paul were their own state, however, Murphy — who represents St. Paul in the Legislature — would have won the race. She got 48 percent among voters in the two cities. Meanwhile, Swanson’s strongest showing was in northern Minnesota, including the Eighth Congressional District.

Turnout for governor was higher on the DFL side than on the GOP side, by a significant margin. As of Thursday morning, the Secretary of State’s office counted roughly 320,000 votes for Republican gubernatorial candidates and 583,000 for Democrats. Democrats showed the highest turnout for governor in Minneapolis and St. Paul and some of their suburbs. Turnout was also relatively high compared to other Greater Minnesota districts in northern Minnesota’s CD8, which might have been driven by a  competitive DFL congressional primary between former Rep. Joe Radinovich, former local TV reporter Michelle Lee and Rep. Jason Metsa.

Votes for DFL and Republican gubernatorial candidates by congressional district
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

Republicans turned out to vote for governor at a relatively steady rate across much of Minnesota, excepting the most metro-centric congressional districts. GOP turnout beat DFL turnout in CD6 and CD7.

CD5

In early June, after Rep. Keith Ellison announced he wasn’t going to run for another term in his urban district, a bunch of DFLers jumped into the race.

During the campaign, political observers expected it to be a tight race between Rep. Ilhan Omar and former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, with Sen. Patricia Torres Ray having the potential to capture a substantial number of votes as well.

Fifth congressional district DFL primary votes by city
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

But once the voting began, extremely strong support among voters in the city of Minneapolis propelled Omar to victory. Though Anderson Kelliher ran neck and neck with Omar in the suburbs, it wasn’t enough to make up Omar’s margin from the city.

In the end, it wasn’t close: Omar won with 48 percent, while Anderson Kelliher got 30 and Torres Ray 13.

CD8

Up on the Iron Range (and, well, the rest of the Eighth district, which stretches down to the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs), many expected the race to be closer between Radinovich, Lee and Metsa.

Eighth congressional district DFL primary votes by county
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

But look at results county by county and it’s clear Radinovich pulled more support than Metsa … everywhere. He got 44 percent of the total vote tally to Metsa’s 13 percent. Lee, with strong support in St. Louis County, home of Duluth, came in second, with 28 percent of the vote.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 08/19/2018 - 07:43 am.

    Governor’s race results by congressional district

    Thanks for sharing. Others have just been covering the horse race. The DFL candidate outpoll Republicans in all districts except close races in 6 and 7, where Republicans have slight edges. For Johnson, that makes it a steep climb. While there is crossover, how much will that help Paulsen of Lewis. Time will tell.

  2. Submitted by Ellen Hoerle on 08/20/2018 - 10:30 am.

    Finally, some real numbers

    Thank you for sharing the actual vote totals of DFL and GOP voters here in Minnesota. That’s just as critical as who won each primary race.

    I’ve been spending a lot (too much) of time in Kansas this summer. The fact that:
    1) the incumbent GOP governor Colyer (replaced Brownback) conceded the race to Kobach with only 100 votes separating the two before a recount was done and
    2) that twice as many Republicans voted in the primary as Democrats
    3) in the western two-thirds of the state, Trump got 70-80% of the vote in 2016
    pretty much means Kansas’ next governor is going to be Kris Kobach.

    So I guess my point is, thank goodness we’re not Kansas.

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