MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After surviving one of his stiffest challenges ever -- from a fellow Republican, no less -- nine-term Rep. Dennis Ozment's reward is two more months of campaigning.
Ozment's primary win, part of a 9-0 showing by challenged incumbents Tuesday, qualifies him for a November showdown with DFLer Rosie Isaacson for the Rosemount-area seat. But he's looking on the bright side: "I won't be fighting my own people."
Political family feuds forced 42 Statehouse primaries. Ozment was pushed to a primary against school board member Judy Lindsay after local GOP activists deadlocked at their endorsing convention, with some questioning whether the incumbent was too moderate. Tuesday's votes broke in Ozment's favor 1,914 to 1,340.
Much more rides on the Nov. 5 vote, when the outcome of 201 legislative races will determine party control of the House and Senate. This is the first election since Minnesota's political map was redrawn to account for population shifts, an exercise that created several open seats and contributed to many retirements.
The 2002 session closed with DFLers holding a dozen-vote edge in the 67-member Senate. The House was in Republican control, by a 71-63 margin.
There were 20 DFL primaries. Republicans were matched up in 15. The IP had six contested races and the Green Party had one.
Few incumbents faced serious threats in the primary round. But several races stirred interest beyond district boundaries.
Sen. Sheila Kiscaden of Rochester, a Republican in her first three terms, won a primary under the Independence Party banner. She'll become the party's first elected legislator if she wins a three-way race involving Republican Lynn Zaffke and DFLer Rich Wright.
While Kiscaden is one of the IP's 43 legislative candidates, she may be the best positioned because she is an incumbent and is from a region where IP gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny is expected to run strong.
First, she'll have to regroup after a draining primary against another ex-Republican, Howard Ives. "I've had to spend a lot of time, a lot of energy and a lot of campaign money on my primary," Kiscaden said.
Another closely watched race turned out to be a yawner. Sen. John Hottinger, of St. Peter, trounced Troy Haefner of Mankato, who filed as a DFLer after being denied the Republican endorsement. Hottinger accused conservative interest groups of encouraging a crossover vote to defeat him.
Hottinger is after his fifth term while also coordinating the DFL's attempt to retain control of the Senate. If he succeeds on both fronts, he'll have the inside track to follow outgoing Sen. Roger Moe as majority leader.
In other primaries:
--Steve Novak of New Brighton won't reclaim the Senate seat he gave up to run for Congress two years ago. He lost to DFL Sen. Satveer Chaudhary of Fridley, whom Novak pushed as his successor in 2000.
--A battle for an open House seat in Eagan resulted in political gamesmanship, including a husband-and-wife team that ran in separate party primaries. Paul Bakken won his Independence Party primary, but his wife, Alison, lost her GOP primary to Republican endorsee Lynn Wardlow.
--Rep. Tom Bakk easiliy beat Bruce Lotti, a steelworker, for a northeastern Minnesota Senate seat even though the DFL endorsement went to Lotti. Bakk had the backing of longtime Sen. Doug Johnson, who is retiring from the seat.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.