ST. PAUL -- Despite a tsunami of absentee ballots and projected lags in results reporting, one race in Minnesota's Tuesday, Aug. 11 primary was called early: Incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and Republican former-congressman Jason Lewis have both won their party primaries and will face off in November's General Election.
The Democrat and Republican will go head-to-head Nov. 3 after decisive wins in their respective party primaries. According to early results reported by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office, Smith swept the Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary with 87.03% of the vote as of 10:30 p.m., with nearly 80% of precincts reporting. The senator, who has been in office since January 2018, faced four primary challengers.
In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Lewis won handedly with 78.40% of Republicans' votes as of 10:30 p.m. with nearly 80% of precincts reporting. Lewis, who served one term in the U.S. House representing Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, also faced four primary opponents.
In a Tuesday night written statement, Smith said she is "honored" to serve as Minnesota's junior U.S. senator, and thanked her supporters going into primary day.
"Onward to November, and an election that seems more important every day," she continued. "Our democracy is on the ballot, make your voice heard.”
On Tuesday night, Lewis tweeted that he promises Minnesotans "I will be your voice" should he win in November.
"Unlike Senator Tina Smith, I will always put Minnesotans first, not my own financial and political interests," he concluded.
In a Tuesday night statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chair U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-In., congratulated Lewis on the win and went after Smith, saying she "has shown time and again that her loyalty lies with Democratic Party leadership, not Minnesota."
"Jason Lewis is a dedicated conservative voice with experience delivering results for working families and small businesses," Young said. "I look forward to supporting Jason’s fight to take back this seat and give Minnesotans the kind of representation they deserve."
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Chair Ken Martin tweeted his congratulations on Smith's win before 9 p.m., saying he has "no doubt with Tina leading our ticket that she will help all DFLers up and down the ballot this fall." On the other side of the aisle, state Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan also tweeted her congratulations to Lewis on his "decisive primary win," with a photo of her smiling beside Lewis and U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn.
Smith and Lewis will go on to face Kevin O'Connor, of the Legalize Marijuana Now Party, and Oliver Steinberg, of the Grassroots — Legalize Cannabis Party, in November's General Election.