U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and his running mate Peggy Flanagan passed their first test in Minnesota, easily winning a straw poll of voters at the state’s party caucuses.
Walz-Flanagan won nearly a third of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor ballots. State Auditor Rebecca Otto was in second place with 20 percent, followed by state Rep. Erin Murphy with 13 percent and former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at 12 percent.
Walz told the Pioneer Press that he was “cautiously optimistic” because of “broad support across the state. It’s coming from all areas.”
The Walz-Flanagan ticket also has a significant lead in the fundraising department. Reports filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board show the team raising more than a million dollars with $$488,194.57 cash on hand. (The second place Democrat, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, raised only about half that amount.)
Flanagan, White Earth Ojibwe, would be first Native American woman ever elected as a Lt. Governor.
Meanwhile, in Idaho, another break-through candidate, Paulette Jordan, Couer’d Alene, resigned her seat in the legislature to concentrate on her run for governor. “My priority is my constituents and the people of Idaho. I cannot fairly serve my constituents and run for governor, therefore I am stepping down from my legislative seat,” she told the Spokesman-Review. “This is necessary to win the Democratic primary and to move toward victory in November. I’m all in for Idaho.”
Jordan is in a contested primary facing a Boise business owner, A.J. Balukoff. The primary is in May. Jordan’s campaign finance disclosure form shows that she has raised about $5,000 so far while Balukoff has collected only a little more than that, but he loaned himself $175,000.