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Jeff Backer takes District 12A Republican primary

MORRIS – With nearly all precints reporting, Jeff Backer of Browns Valley is leading Nancy Taffe of Morris in the Republican primary for Minnesota House District 12A.

As of 11:30 p.m., Backer had 1,705 votes (55 percent) while Taffe had 1,375 votes (45 percent).  

Incumbent Democrat Jay McNamar, who was not facing a primary challenger, had received 1,467 votes.

Johnson wins four-way GOP primary for governor

The Republican who grew up in greater Minnesota and now is a Hennepin County commissioner declared a primary election victory Tuesday night, setting up a race with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in the fall election.

Jeff Johnson was getting about 30 percent of the vote in a rare four-way Republican primary election race late Tuesday. It appeared his lead, although slightly shrinking through the night, was strong enough to give him the GOP nomination.

With 70 percent of the precincts tallied, unofficial returns showed the three other major candidates close: Kurt Zellers with 24 percent, Scott Honour with 22 percent and Marty Seifert with 20 percent.

Johnson, 47, a Detroit Lakes native and former state lawmaker, received the Republican state convention's endorsement in May.

After he was named the winner Tuesday night, Johnson thanked supporters and introduced his parents, who made the trek from Detroit Lakes to the celebration.

"Now it is time we finished the job," he said about the general election campaign.

McFadden to challenge Franken in November

Well-financed Mike McFadden won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate and is set to face U.S. Sen. Al Franken in the Nov. 4 election.

The secretary of state's office reported that McFadden had 72 percent of the vote with three-fourths of the precincts counted.

After being declared the winner, McFadden said Minnesotans are frustrated with the federal government.

"Minnesotans feel like President Obama and Sen. Franken have done nothing but take our country in the wrong direction,” McFadden said. “This campaign isn’t just about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about deciding which direction we want to take our country.”

McFadden, who called himself a problem solver, is a Sunfish Lake businessman who raised $1.1 million in the three months leading up to the election. However, Franken raised about three times that. As of June 30, Franken had $5 million in the bank while McFadden reported $2 million.

A Franken-McFadden match-up has drawn national attention, especially since Franken won by only 312 votes in the 2008 election against then-Sen. Norm Coleman. Franken said last week that because of the 2008 election, which required months of a recount and a court case, every section of the state is important.