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What to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries
GOP picks nominee in top Senate race; 2 Toss-up House races will be set

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith faces a DFL primary challenge Tuesday from five other candidates, including former Republican Richard Painter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From New England to the upper Midwest, four states are hosting primaries Tuesday. The most interesting contests are in Wisconsin and Minnesota, which both hold primaries for Senate and for several competitive House seats. And in two safe Democratic districts — one in Minnesota and one in Connecticut — primaries will likely pick new members of Congress.

Wisconsin Republicans will pick their nominee to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, one of 10 Senate Democrats running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016. The contest between Marine veteran and businessman Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir has come down to the wire.Both are backed by billionaires bankrolling super PACs. Vukmir has the state party’s endorsement, and the Wisconsin GOP’s turnout machine behind her. But Nicholson has benefitted from millions of dollars in outside spending to boost his campaign. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Wisconsin Senate race Leans Democratic.Some Democrats see their best House pickup opportunity in Wisconsin in the 1st District, which opened after Speaker Paul D. Ryan decided to retire. Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2016, his smallest margin among all five GOP-held seats in the Badger State. Former Ryan aide Bryan Steil is expected to win the Republican nod, while ironworker Randy Bryce faces Janesville school board member Cathy Myers for the Democratic nomination.

Minnesota’s Tim Walz Running for Governor
Six-term congressman will leave behind competitive seat

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz is running for governor in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a widely expected decision, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz has announced he’s running for governor in 2018.

The six-term Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressman revealed his decision to the Post Bulletin Monday morning and is planning to file for the office later in the day.

Minnesota’s Tim Walz Close to Decision on Gubernatorial Run
He could leave open a top target for Republicans in 2018

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz, seen here campaigning for fellow DFL Rep. Rick Nolan last fall, will likely decide about a gubernatorial bid within the next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz is close to making a decision about running for governor in 2018, which would leave open a congressional seat Democrats barely won in 2016. 

“I am interested in doing it, I feel very strongly about it, am passionate about Minnesota. I believe the issues that are coming up are going to be fought at the state level, and so I expect to make a decision in the very, very near future,” Walz told Roll Call on Monday night outside the House chamber. 

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket.