Updated: 06/11/2014 10:39 PM
Created: 06/11/2014 10:37 PM WDIO.com
By: Tom Hauser
With two months to go before primary elections in Minnesota, the GOP primary race for governor is tied at the top.
Jeff Johnson, who won the GOP endorsement at the state convention last month, and Kurt Zellers, the former Speaker of the Minnesota House, each have support of 23 percent of "likely GOP primary voters."
"Jeff Johnson has clearly gotten a nice bump from the Republican-endorsing convention," said Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the U of M Humphrey Institute. "He's now tied with the much better known Kurt Zellers who had been Speaker of the Minnesota House."
However, the numbers suggest this race is wide open with eight weeks to go. Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert is third at 14 percent and businessman Scott Honour is fourth at nine percent, but two other numbers deserve attention. Our poll of 404 likely voters shows 22 percent are undecided and 11 percent prefer someone else. The margin of sampling error is +/- five percent.
That means Seifert or Honour could make up a lot of ground if they appeal to those undecided voters. Jacobs says Seifert might have hurt himself at the GOP convention by attempting to block an endorsement from happening. As for Honour, it's all about a lack of name recognition because he's a political newcomer.
"He's probably going to drop a good bit of money to raise his name recognition and to start getting traction," Jacobs said about Honour. "If he's not able to do that this poll suggests he's not going to be a factor in the primary."
As for the GOP U.S. Senate primary race, it doesn't look nearly as competitive.
Businessman Mike McFadden, who won the GOP endorsement, has a commanding lead over state Representative Jim Abeler. McFadden leads Abeler 44 percent to 16 percent, although 21 percent remain undecided and 19 percent prefer someone else.
But Jacobs says without party endorsement and very little money, Abeler is a decided underdog. "Jim Abeler's effort to run a competitive primary race against Mike McFadden is the longest of long shots," according to Jacobs.
SurveyUSA interviewed 2,200 Minnesota adults between June 5 and June 9. Of the adults, 2,032 were registered to vote. Of the registered, 1,017 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the November general election, while 404 were determined to be likely to vote in the August primary election.
Minnesota has an "open" primary system, meaning anyone can vote in them. So the "likely" primary voters included 56 percent Republicans, 27 percent independents and 15 percent Democrats. The polling included a mix of home phone, cellphone and tablet respondents.
McFadden and Franken Clash on Mining, Health Care
Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden spent their first debate in Duluth clashing over mining and Pres. Obama's health care law. The pair will meet again on October 26.
Updated: Police ID Victim in Superior Homicide, Still Searching for Suspect
The Superior Police Department has released the name of a homicide victim in Superior Tuesday evening. They say 20-year-old Garth H. Velin of Superior was killed. Police say they are still searching for the person responsible.
MNsure Says 4.5 Percent Average Hike in 2015
Minnesota officials say the average rate for policies sold on the state health insurance exchange next year will go up 4.5 percent. They say that will still give Minnesota the lowest average rate in the nation.
Wis. Court: Castle Doctrine Doesn't Apply Outside Dwelling
The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruling Thursday stems from the case of Charles Chew, who fired at two men as they fled across a parking lot after they beat him in his apartment in 2012.
Man Pleads Guilty in Deaths of Parents
An Iron River, Wis., man has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of his parents last winter. 45-year-old James Crain, Jr., entered the plea Tuesday as part of a plea agreement.