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Emmer wins GOP primary for Minnesota governor

ST. PAUL - State Rep. Tom Emmer has coasted to victory in Minnesota's Republican primary for governor.

Emmer's win Tuesday never was in doubt. But polls have shown him trailing any of three Democrats he could face in November as he tries to extend Republicans' eight-year hold on the governor's office.

Emmer faced his stiffest GOP opposition in April, winning his party's endorsement over a fellow House member a day after receiving Sarah Palin's endorsement.

The Delano attorney has had a few stumbles, including a furor over his suggestion that tips somehow be used to calculate restaurant server wages. He brought in new top advisers just last week.

Minnesota Democrats picked a governor candidate Tuesday from three well-known politicians, including one of Minnesota's best known politicians active today.

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton hoped that senior citizens turned out in large numbers on a hot and sometimes rainy day to make the difference. Dayton was the leader of polls leading up to the election, in part because he has been in the public eye for decades and his family started the Dayton and Target department store chains.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former state Rep. Matt Entenza hoped their strategies of targeting specific potential voters would be more successful than the Dayton campaign's wooing of senior citizens.

Kelliher was the first women candidate endorsed by a major party, but the two men spent millions of dollars of their own money in the campaign.

It all boiled down to the relatively few who went to the polls Tuesday, fighting the heat, rain and a primary that came a month earlier than normal during busy a busy summer month. All those factors added up to what most observers predicted to be a light turnout in a state that leads the country in general election voting.