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2018 Election: Primary results in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Vermont

On the ballot tonight are nominees for five Senate contests, three competitive gubernatorial races and a man known as "Ironstache."

Christine Hallquist has become the first transgender gubernatorial nominee in U.S. history after winning the Democratic primary in Vermont.
Christine Hallquist has become the first transgender gubernatorial nominee in U.S. history after winning the Democratic primary in Vermont.Read moreCharles Krupa / AP Photo

Voters in four states — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Vermont — went to the polls Tuesday to determine party nominees ahead of November's midterms.

On the ballot were nominees for five Senate contests, three competitive gubernatorial races and several House races expected to be competitive in the general election.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday's elections:

• Six-term Rep. Keith Ellison easily won the Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general, despite being accused of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend.

• In Wisconsin, the Democratic candidate known as "Ironstache" won the party's nomination, bolstering Democrats' changes of flipping a congressional seat in a safe Republican district being vacated by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

• Christine Hallquist is the first transgender gubernatorial nominee in U.S. history after winning the Democratic primary in Vermont.


In Minnesota, where there's a wide open race for governor, two Senate races and five competitive House seats, the race stealing the most attention is for the state's open attorney general spot.

Six-term Rep. Keith Ellison, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, easily secured the Democratic nomination despite domestic abuse allegations that were made by the son of Karen Monahan, a former girlfriend. Monahan has confirmed her son's report, but Ellison has denied the allegations of abuse.

As far as the governor's residence is concerned, former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty failed in his comeback bid to replace retiring incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton. Instead, it will be county commissioner Jeff Johnson facing off against Democratic Rep. Timi Walz, who is giving up his safe seat representing the First Congressional District.

>> READ MORE: Special election results in Ohio; primary results in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington

For the first Senate seat, incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, easily secured her party's nomination. She's expected easily defeat state Rep. Jim Newberger in November.

Things are more interesting in the race for Minnesota's other Senate seat, which was vacated by Al Franken after he faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Incumbent Sen. Tina Smith, who was appointed to replace Franken, secured the Democratic nomination Tuesday night over Richard Painter, George W. Bush's former ethics czar. Smith will face state Sen. Karin Housely, the winner of the Republican primary.

In the First Congressional District, four-time candidate Jim Hagedorn, a former Treasury official, will face former Obama official Dan Feehan, an Iraq War veteran who will attempt to keep the seat vacated by Walz in Democratic control in November.

In the Seventh Congressional District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson is expected to win in November despite representing a district rated R+12 by the Cook Political Report. Peterson, who has represented the district since 1991, will face Air Force veteran David Hughes.

In the Eighth Congressional District, Republicans hope to flip a Democratic seat vacated by outgoing incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan, who is on Swanson's gubernatorial ticket. St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber secured the Republican nomination Tuesday night, and will face former state Rep. Joe Radinovich in November.


Back in April, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he would not seek reelection for his First Congressional District seat, and now Democrats are hoping to flip a district President Trump won by 11 points in 2016.

Ironworker and union leader Randy Bryce (who goes by the nickname "Ironstache") secured the Democratic nomination Tuesday night, defeating school board member Cathy Myers. Bryce will face off in November against corporate attorney and former Ryan aide Bryan Steil.

There's also an interesting gubernatorial race shaping up in the Badger state. Tony Evers, the state's superintendent of public instruction, emerged victorious from a crowded field of Democrats to secure the party's nomination. Evers will now take on embattled incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is running for his third term.

>> READ MORE: Checking in on Pennsylvania's predicted 'blue wave' | John Baer

As far as the Senate is concerned, Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin will defend her seat against state Sen. Leah Vukmir, the winner of a fierce Republican primary against Kevin Nicholson, a former Democrat and outspoken Trump supporter.


Republicans think they have a legitimate chance to steal the governor's race in deep-blue Connecticut. Business executive and political newcomer Bob Stefanowski emerged from a five-man race to secure the Republican nomination. He will face-off against businessman Ned Lamont, who won the Democratic nomination to replace unpopular incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy, who decided not to run for a third term.

>> READ MORE: Poll: Tom MacArthur, Andy Kim neck-and-neck in key South Jersey U.S. House race

Connecticut's only real competitive House election this November will take place in the Fifth Congressional District. Jahana Hayes, an educator who was selected of "National Teacher of the Year" in 2016, won the Democratic primary to replace incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat who was accused to mishandling sexual harassment accusations against a staffer. Hayes will face off against former Meriden mayor Manny Santos, who won the Republican primary Tuesday night.


Christine Hallquist has become the first transgender gubernatorial nominee in U.S. history after winning the Democratic primary in Vermont. Among those Hallquist defeated was 14-year-old high school student Ethan Sonneborn (who isn't yet old enough to vote). Hallquist will now face-off against incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

Longtime Sen. Bernie Sanders is also running for re-election. He coasted to an easy victory for the Democratic nomination, but just as he has done in previous elections, he will turn it down and run as an independent instead. Sanders will face token opponent in November from the winner of a field of four Republican candidates.

"I've always run as an Independent, and that's what I will do. I think the people of Vermont understand that," Sanders said on MSNBC following the primary win. "I suspect in this coming campaign, our campaign will be putting more money into a lot of good Democratic candidates."