Elections 2018: Attorney General

This is a statewide race. Thanks in part to our ongoing national nightmare, I think people are more aware now than they were for a while that this is an extremely important job.

I’ve never been a fan of Lori Swanson. She was a Mike Hatch protege, and I really didn’t like Mike Hatch. When I saw Pelikan was challenging Swanson for the endorsement, at my SD convention, I grabbed one of his stickers and slapped it on, although there was no “uncommitted for governor, Pelikan for AG” walking subcaucus to join so I thought this was probably pretty quixotic. At the state convention, Pelikan got enough votes to prevent a first-ballot endorsement of Swanson — it was 52% Swanson, 48% (I assume) Pelikan — at which point Swanson dropped out of the race entirely and announced she was running for governor, instead. The convention endorsed Pelikan, and then a bunch of other people, starting with Keith Ellison, jumped into the AG race.

What a year. Anyway, here’s who’s on the ballot:

Mike Rothman
Debra Hilstrom
Matt Pelikan
Tom Foley
Keith Ellison

All five of these people are qualified, legitimate candidates. All of them are lawyers, all of them have relevant experience, none of them are actually Republicans and none of them are loons. (Sharon Anderson is running in the Republican primary, and don’t count her out, she beat Charlie Weaver in the GOP primary back in 1994 and was the Republican AG candidate on the general election ballot.)

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Election 2018: Ramsey County Judge, Court 28

Oh good, an easy one.

Here’s who’s running:

Elena L. Ostby (Incumbent)
Seamus R. Mahoney
Calandra Revering

I see no particular reason to get rid of Ostby. Mahoney’s web page is his attorney web site, with nothing explaining his interest in or qualifications for a judgeship. Calandra Revering apparently had her license to practice law suspended at some point. (You can read a little bit more about her here.)

Anyway, I’m going to vote for Ostby.

Election 2018: Ramsey County Judge, Court 20

There are three people running:

G. Tony Atwal (incumbent)
Elliott Nickell
P. Paul Yang

There’s basically one question in this race, or maybe two.

  • Does a DUI — and also pulling the “I’m a judge, officer, maybe just let me walk home?” card — disqualify someone from serving as a judge?
  • Even if you otherwise really like them?

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Election 2018: Ramsey County Judge, Court 11

“Court 11” seems to refer to the seat that’s open, but I can’t figure out which judge is in it right now. That person is apparently not running for re-election as the seat seems to be wide open. There are four people running, two of whom will progress to the November ballot.

I just want to note for the record that I think this is a bad way to choose a judge. Even more than any other elective seat, I’m not in a good position to decide whether someone’s going to be good at the job. The Committee on Judicial Selection, which you apply to and which recommends appointments to the governor, and which was handling two seats this year, seems genuinely more qualified to me. (I have no idea why this seat wasn’t filled that way!)

(I’d also prefer retention elections to the system we’ve got now. In a retention election, you vote “should we keep this person, Y/N” when their term expires, and if people vote N, a new person gets appointed.)

The vast majority of what judges do isn’t partisan. “Did this person steal a car?” is not a particularly political question. But of course, politics leak in in all sorts of ways. I don’t want a judge who’s going to discriminate against a gay parent in a child custody case. I don’t want a judge who doesn’t take violence against women seriously. I don’t want a judge who assumes that police officers are always telling the truth. Etc.

Anyway — somewhat frustratingly, I’m going to note — all four of the candidates for this open seat appear to be basically fine and decent people who’d probably be good judges. Here they are:

Scott Michael Flaherty
Adam Yang
Jeffry Martin
Gregory J. Egan IV

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Elections 2018: US Representative, District 5

This race abruptly got more interesting during the DFL State Convention, when Keith Ellison decided to run for Attorney General, opening up this seat. There was a mad dash to file; a bunch of the filers then withdrew after seeing someone they liked and respected (or didn’t think they could reasonably beat) in the contest. The 5th district DFL reconvened and held an endorsing convention, which I thought was an absolutely terrible idea under the circumstances. Anyway, it’s been an interesting year.

The good news: this is a very, very, very, very blue district. In 2016, Keith Ellison won with 69.1% of the vote (and the “Legal Marijuana Now” person got 8% of what was left.) If this is your district, you can vote your heart in the primary without asking yourself, “but will this person win in the general?” Also, if you want any input on your next congressional rep, you will definitely want to show up on August 14th.

The candidates running:

Frank Nelson Drake
Bobby Joe Champion
Jamal Abdi Abdulahi
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Patricia Torres Ray
Ilhan Omar

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Elections 2018: US Senator (partial term)

We have two Senate races this year. Amy Klobuchar is running for a regular six-year term. Tina Smith is running to finish out Al Franken’s term. This is the Tina race. Not surprisingly, it’s more hotly contested.

Whoever wins this election will serve for two years, instead of six, and will run for re-election (or, I guess, decide they’re sick of the job) in 2020.

Running in the DFL primary for this Senate seat:

Nick Leonard
Ali Chehem Ali
Richard Painter
Tina Smith

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