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Congressional Race Headed to Primary after DFL Fails to Endorse Candidate

Alejandra Palacios and WDIO staff
Updated: April 15, 2018 09:41 AM

DULUTH - The DFL race for northeastern Minnesota's 8th Congressional District is headed for an August primary election after the party failed to endorse a candidate at its convention Saturday and most candidates remained in the race.

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Five candidates hoping to succeed three-term Democratic U.S. Representative Rick Nolan sought the endorsement. After ten rounds of voting at the Holiday Inn & Suites, party leaders announced Saturday night that there would be no endorsement.

Leah Phifer and Joe Radinovich were the last two candidates in the race.  Michelle Lee and Kirsten Kennedy were eliminated after the first ballot, and Jason Metsa was eliminated after the third round.

Metsa announced Sunday morning that he will continue his campaign.

"The best way to identify the strongest candidate to win in November is through a primary campaign," Metsa said in a news release.  "I look forward to running a robust grassroots campaign focused on our shared values of fairness and responsibility."

Nolan had endorsed Radinovich during voting Saturday.  However, after the convention failed to result in an endorsement, a spokesperson said Nolan would reserve judgement until he sees who decides to run in the primary.

During Saturday's convention, Phifer said she would protect pensions and fight for a social safety net.

"We need to make sure that equal access to healthcare, education, the right to put food on your table and a roof over your head is something that all Americans can achieve, not just those who can afford it," Phifer said.

Radinovich emphasized the importance of education.

"I got myself elected to state legislature where I got myself on the Education Finance Committee and I passed legislation to make sure that there was no gaps between the richest and poorest schools in our state," Radinovich said.

Phifer said she would fight for sensible gun control, climate change, DACA, protecting treaty rights as the supreme law of the land, and raising minimum wage.

"The DFL is the party that fights for our safety and wellbeing. We are the party that believes in economic justice. In congress I will lead the fight for $15 an hour minimum wage," Phifer said.

Radinovich mentioned he would invest in affordable childcare programs, making community and technical colleges free, and having universal single payer healthcare.

"Republicans in congress want to slash that social safety net, they want to shred our social security benefits. They want to surrender our Medicare and sell out our pensions to Wall Street. Sorry GOP, but not today," Radinovich said.

The winner of the August 14 primary election will race Republican Pete Stauber and Independence Party candidate Ray "Skip" Sandman in the November election.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios and WDIO staff

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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