(I’m going to tackle the ballot out of order and do the presidential race last.)
I live in St. Paul, and our Congresswoman is Betty McCollum. This is largely regarded as a safe Democratic seat.
Here’s who’s running:
Betty McCollum (DFL)
Greg Ryan (Republican)
Susan Pendergast Sindt (Legal Marijuana Now)
Betty is a reliably liberal, reliably hard-working, not-terribly-flashy Congressional Representative. Some profile described her as “pleasant, partisan, and liberal,” which pretty well sums it up. Oh, she also has an F from the NRA, which is A-OK with me.
I just don’t have all that much to say about Betty. She’s solidly the sort of politician I approve of, but gives me very little to talk about.
Greg Ryan’s bio says he runs a plumbing business and adds, “he is not a political elitist,” which seems like it should be a swipe at Betty but is a very odd one (she’s a former high school teacher).
Under Issues, Greg talks about listening to people express worries about the future (“Will hard work pay off for our children?”) and says, “Greg Ryan believes that the answer to these questions will be ‘yes.’ But only if the government gets out of the way. Personal freedom, coupled with responsibility, has always been the recognized hallmark of the ‘all-American’ family.” If you think that a return to the tax and regulatory structure of the Gilded Age will benefit the majority of American families, I have a beautifully decorated bridge to sell you with marble floors and pillars on the front and servants’ quarters around the back.
He then gives a bulleted list of other goals, with no information on what he’d do, exactly. And with “support the 2nd Amendment” it’s fairly obvious that he’d vote against any and all gun laws, but “Return Power to the States” could use some fleshing out, as could “Reform the Tax Code” and “Improve Healthcare.” (I mean, bitching about Obamacare while not actually providing any sort of plan beyond “get rid of Obamacare” is de rigueur among most Republicans, so he’s at least in good company there.)
I see no reason to vote for this guy.
Susan Pendergast Sindt
This seems like as good a time as any to mention my criteria for whether someone is actually running for office or if they just filed some papers to appear on the ballot. If you are actually running for office, you will, at the bare minimum, have some sort of website. On that website, you will have a statement of some kind about why anyone might want to vote for you, and a way for people to donate money and volunteer for you. If you do not have these things, you aren’t actually running. If you can’t be arsed to fill out questionnaires about your campaign, you’re not actually running. If there’s no way to get ahold of you or your campaign, you’re not actually running. (Unless you’re running for something really, really small, in which case standards are different.)
Susan does not have a website. She does have a brief profile on the Legal Marijuana Now party’s website. (Scroll down for a bit, you’ll find her.) Her statement on her goals, in its entirety: “It has always been my goal to help the underprivileged members of society to reach a higher level of achievement and independence, for the greater good. I think the most sustainable way to do this is by removing the roadblocks to higher education, and to help people help themselves to improve their own life circumstances.” So … I guess that’s sort of a platform? Weirdly, she doesn’t mention marijuana anywhere in her profile.
The Legal Marijuana Party itself notes on their website that they are “a progression” of the Grassroots Party, but the Grassroots Party still exists, which makes me wonder who exactly got into a fight with whom.
Susan’s blurb has a “read more” link which takes you to a Facebook page that’s allegedly a Facebook page for the Legal Marijuana Now Party of Congressional District 4, but is predominantly articles about other districts in the state. (There is a picture of Susan and some friends in a parade.)
Anyway, I really expect more substance from my potential congressional people than she’s got on offer, and she has zero chance of winning. I think the theory is that by persuading people to vote for their candidates the LMN party will show that it’s not just a tiny fringe that support marijuana legalization but I don’t think this is working well for them.
tl;dr vote for Betty McCollum.