Tuesday's primary election featured a handful of contests in legislative races across Carver and Scott counties -- including two contentious Republican battles that were watched closely.
In Senate District 54, Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) held off a challenge from political newcomer Natalie Barnes, a Prior Lake nurse who had won the Scott County GOP endorsement. Pratt won 54 percent of the vote, according to election returns compiled by the Minnesota Secretary of State's office.
The county party had censured Pratt during the primary campaign for deciding to run in the primary rather than abide by the endorsement process, a move that Pratt flatly rejected.
In a posting on his campaign's Facebook page, Pratt congratulated Barnes "for running a solid campaign" and thanked the voters of Scott County who backed his candidacy "for placing your trust in me."
On her campaign Facebook page, Barnes said the "establishment may have won this round but this is not just about winning but about keeping people informed."
Pratt moves on to face DFLer Alicia Donahue in the November general election.
In House District 54A, meanwhile, Rep. Erik Mortensen (R-Shakopee) garnered 55 percent of the vote in beating former legislator and Shakopee businessman Bob Loonan, returns showed. It was Mortensen's third primary win over Loonan.
That race, too, was testy as Loonan was fined $1,500 by a panel of judges after a GOP operative alleged that Loonan had distributed campaign material falsely claiming he was endorsed by the Republican Party. Loonan planned to appeal that ruling.
In a prepared statement for Southwest News Media, Mortensen said voters had "rejected the Republican political establishment and their record of cowardice and Democrat-Lite policies.”
He added: “I’m honored to have the continued trust of liberty-loving Shakopee residents who are tired of a state government that ignores their plight.”
Loonan called it a "dirty campaign," but added: “I’m very grateful for all the support and help I got … and of course we’re disappointed that it didn’t turn out the way we had hoped.”
Mortensen will face DFLer Brad Tabke and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Ryan Martin in the general election.
Democrats were involved in a few local primary contests, too.
In Senate District 48, Dan Kessler garnered 90 percent of the vote in his race against Balakrishna Chintaginjala and moves on to face Sen. Julia Coleman (R-Waconia) in November.
And in House District 48A, Nathan Kells appeared to defeat Arlan Brinkmeier in a close race, earning 52 percent of the vote. Just 61 votes separated the two out of about 1,350 cast, returns showed. The winner will face Jim Nash (R-Waconia) in November.
Scott County had a primary in District 3. Jody Brennan and Michael Luce were the top two vote-getters while Ibrahim Mohamed finished third, according to returns. Brennan and Luce move on to the general election.