NFIB Minnesota-Backed Candidates Prevail In Primary and Special Elections

Date: August 17, 2022

12 of 12 NFIB MN PAC Endorsed Candidates Won Their Races on August 9

Minnesota held its state Primary Election on August 9 when voters decided which candidates for congressional, statewide, legislative, and local offices would move onto the General Election on November 8. 

In these races – and a special election for U.S. Congress – the NFIB Minnesota PAC endorsement proved vital. NFIB backed candidates went 12 for 12 in races that echo from St. Paul to Washington, D.C. 

Learn more about how your voice – the Power of the Small Business Voice – helps shape key elections in Minnesota and around the United States.. 

Minnesota’s First Congressional District

In Southern Minnesota (MN-01), voters thought Brad Finstad was so nice they picked him twice. Finstad, who was backed by the NFIB Federal PAC, won a special election to finish the term of late Congressman Jim Hagedorn. 

A fourth-generation farmer and small businessman, Finstad was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on August 12

Finstad also won a decisive 50-point victory in a primary race to move onto the General Election. He’ll again face off against DFLer Jeffrey Ettinger, this time for a full two-year term. Two marijuana legalization party candidates are also in that race.

Leading up to the election, NFIB Federal PAC launched a radio and digital campaign to boost Finstad and make voters aware of the dual elections. 

Finstad expressed appreciation for NFIB’s backing. “As a family farmer, small businessman, and NFIB member myself, it meant a lot to have NFIB’s support in this campaign,” said Finstad. “They represent hardworking families across Southern Minnesota and really are the voice of Main Street. When they speak, voters listen. It’s an honor to have them on my side.”

Minnesota Legislative Primaries

We won’t know which party controls the Minnesota Legislature until November, but we know the state House and Senate will look a lot different in 2023. Already, 51 incumbents – about 25% of the Legislature – have retired, decided to run for a statewide or local office, or were defeated in the primary election. 

Another 10 state Representatives are running for Senate, ensuring even more turnover in that chamber. One state Senator – Sen. Jerry Newton – is seeking to return to the House, where he previously served three non-consecutive terms. 

In key state legislative primary races, 11 NFIB MN PAC-endorsed candidates comfortably won reelection in key races that could set the tone in St. Paul next year. All endorsed candidates earned the backing by accruing stellar NFIB MN voting records in the 2021-22 legislative sessions. 

Minnesota Senate – NFIB MN PAC Endorsees

  • SD 1 (East Grand Forks-Roseau): Sen. Mark Johnson, 72% margin of victory (MOV). An attorney and small business owner, Johnson has been a steadfast supporter of the small business agenda in the Legislature. He faces no opposition in the General Election.
  • SD 5 (Park Rapids-Browerville): Sen. Paul Utke, 25% MOV over the closer of two challengers. Utke is a former small business owner and strong ally of NFIB MN’s legislative agenda. He’ll face A. John Peters in November.

  • SD 13 (Greater St. Cloud Area): Sen. Jeff Howe, 71% MOV. Retired from the Minnesota National Guard and a former firefighter and building inspector, Howe authored important legislation to prevent new electricity taxes that would pay for electric vehicle subsidies. He’s a consistent pro-small business legislator. Howe will face Alissa Brickman in November.

  • SD 15 (Redwood Falls-Marshall): Sen. Gary Dahms, 85% MOV. Dahms is the longtime Senate Commerce chair and has stood up for small business against big government mandates and government-run health-care schemes. Dahms will face Anita Gaul in November.

  • SD 21 (Luverne-Worthington): Sen. Bill Weber, 55% MOV. Weber is the current Senate Property Tax chair and a friend to small business on tax issues. Weber faces no opposition in the General Election.|

  • SD 23 (Albert Lea-Austin): Sen. Gene Dornink, 63% MOV. Dornink is a carpenter and a voice for common sense in the Minnesota Senate.  He’ll face Brandon Lawhead in November.

  • SD 54 (Prior Lake-Shakopee): Sen. Eric Pratt, 7% MOV. Pratt prevailed in the most hotly contested Republican primary in the state. The race featured significant outside spending and armies of volunteers on both sides. As Senate Jobs chair, Pratt was instrumental in securing repayment of the state’s $2.7 billion Unemployment Insurance debt. This prevented a decade of tax hikes on Main Street employers across Minnesota.

Minnesota House of Representatives – NFIB MN PAC Endorsees

  • 6B (Brainerd-Nisswa): Rep. Josh Heintzeman, 60% MOV. Heintzeman, a small businessowner in the Brainerd Lakes area, has consistently voted with small business since his election in 2014. He faces Sally Boos in the General Election.

  • 10A (Little Falls-Aitkin): Rep. Ron Kresha, 47% MOV. Kresha is a five-term legislator and small business owner who has been a consistent ally of NFIB’s legislative agenda. Kresha faces no opposition in November.
  • 26B (Houston, Fillmore Counties): Rep. Greg Davids, 52% MOV. A former House Tax chair, Davids has authored many key victories for small businesses, including an increase the state estate tax exemption, Sec. 179 conformity, and the $150,000 exemption from the statewide business property tax. Davids is a steady ally of small business. He faces no opposition in November.

  • 27B (Princeton-Zimmerman): Rep. Kurt Daudt, 46% MOV. Daudt is the former Speaker of the Minnesota House and has been a consistent ally on NFIB’s legislative agenda. He faces Brad Brown in the November election.

NFIB MN congratulates all PAC-endorsed candidates on their primary victories and wishes them success in November. We believe voters will choose a pro-small business majority this fall, and we’ll keep working to make sure the Voice of Small Business is heard in the polling booth and at the State Capitol. 

Other Notable Races

MN-05: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar narrowly survived a close primary race with former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, winning by only 2 points. Samuels positioned himself as a traditional liberal who would focus on the needs of the district. He was widely viewed as more pragmatic than Omar, who has cultivated a national profile as a progressive standard-bearer and member of the far-left “Squad.” 

Samuels’ campaign was endorsed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and several first-ring suburban mayors. Rep. Omar and her allies characterized Samuels as being the choice of moderates and Republicans, and not fit to represent the ultra-liberal Fifth Congressional District. 

Rep. Omar is an overwhelming favorite to win election to a third term in November. 

MN Attorney General: In the Republican primary, first-time candidate Jim Schultz bested Doug Wardlow for the nomination. Schultz, a 36-year-old attorney who has spent his career in private practice, will face incumbent Keith Ellison in November. Ellison previously represented MN-05 for over a decade and defeated Wardlow for Attorney General in 2018.

Like his successor in Congress, Ellison has long built a reputation as one of the most liberal members of Congress. As Attorney General, he’s been the focus of controversy for his statements about policing and third-party funding of environmental lawyers in the official office. 

Schultz has focused his campaign on building a robust criminal division in the state Attorney General’s Office that will assist local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. 

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