ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Fifteen Democrats have secured spots on Minnesota’s presidential primary ballot, standing in contrast to the single name Republican voters will see in the March 3 election: President Donald Trump.
Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin submitted his party’s names to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday morning. Afterward, he told reporters it was “unprecedented” that Democrats had so many serious contenders with no clear frontrunner.
Minnesota is one of 14 states voting on Super Tuesday, but Martin said he expected many candidates to campaign here because of the unsettled nature of the race.
“Minnesota is one of the few states on Super Tuesday that not only is an important state in the nominating process but also a critical battleground for Democrats if we hope to win the presidency next November,” Martin said.
The 15 Democratic candidates appearing on Minnesota’s ballot are:
- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Businessman Andrew Yang
- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
- U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
- Former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro
- Author Marianne Williamson
- U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
- Businessman Michael Bloomberg
- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Businessman Tom Steyer
- U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
The 15 Democrats that will be on the DFL primary ballot.
This is the first presidential election since Minnesota switched from a caucus system to a primary. The two parties faced a late December deadline to submit candidate names, providing enough time for ballots to be printed before absentee voting starts Jan. 17.
Minnesota Republicans only submitted Trump’s name and a write-in option, leading GOP candidate Rocky de la Fuente and a Minnesota voter to file a lawsuit.
The Minnesota Supreme Court said Monday afternoon it would take the case, scheduling oral arguments for Jan. 9.
Erick Kaardal, the attorney representing the two Republican plaintiffs, said both parties’ ballots were unconstitutional. The Minnesota DFL also left three little-known candidates off their ballot.
“This is nationally embarrassing because we can’t even run a presidential primary correctly,” Kaardal said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re asking for all the candidates who are qualified per the Minnesota Constitution to be on the ballot.”
Through a spokesman, Secretary of State Steve Simon declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Minnesota GOP did not return a phone message seeking comment.
No state in the U.S. starts absentee voting earlier than Minnesota. That means Minnesotans will vote for president before anyone else, even if those votes won’t be counted until the March 3 primary.
It also presents a scenario where some Democratic candidates drop out before the primary, but still appear on the ballot. And some people who vote absentee may be disappointed when the candidate they voted for leaves the race.
Minnesotans can get their absentee ballot back and revote up to a week before the election, said Peter Bartz-Gallagher, a spokesman for the secretary of state.
Martin said he did not expect voters to be confused by the new system, even as the Democratic field remains in a state of flux.
“The one thing I will say, if anyone tells you they know how this will shake out over the next three to four months, they’re lying,” he said. “No one does. We’ve never been through this before.”