Primary Elections 2022: Minnesota House District 65B

I’m going to do another easy one. This is an open seat; the incumbent is not running. This district includes downtown Saint Paul, the Westside neighborhood (which, for the uninitiated, is the bit of Saint Paul directly south of downtown — it’s Westside because it’s the west side of the Mississippi River), and I think some of West Saint Paul (which is its own city and should not be confused with either the Westside neighborhood of Saint Paul, or the western portion of Saint Paul.) If you live in West Saint Paul and are looking for more information on your own races, there is an excellent voter guide at the West Saint Paul Reader.

There are two people running in this primary.

María Isa Pérez-Hedges (DFL-endorsed)
Anna Botz

María Isa is a musician, progressive Democrat, and insulin organizer (she has Type I diabetes) who worked to pass the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. She’s been endorsed by the DFL, all the related organizations, and by an array of both progressive and centrist-leaning Democrats.

Anna Botz’s website immediately sent up a red flag for me when she said, “I identify politically with our parents’ generation of Democrat (think JFK).” I mean, I like JFK fine, but when someone wants to say that they’re DEFINITELY THE OLD FASHIONED SORT OF DEMOCRAT NOT THE MODERN KIND OF DEMOCRAT they’re signaling something and it’s almost certainly something I do not like. In her case apparently she’s saying that she’s opposed to abortion rights. (Weirdly, she doesn’t mention that MCCL endorsement on her website, and according to people who’ve met her campaigning, she doesn’t talk about it….almost like she knows it wouldn’t be popular with the people whose support she needs?) There’s more, but frankly, that’s sufficient!

I would absolutely vote for María Isa, who looks great!


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Minnesota Senate 63

This seat has been held by Patricia Torres Ray since 2006, but she is not running again. There are two candidates running.

Zaynab Mohamed
Todd C. Scott

Zaynab Mohamed looks great. Some specific details from her bio and platform I found particularly compelling: she helped to care for an elderly relative (before getting him into publicly-funded elder care); her education platform includes a call for sex ed that covers consent; she’s endorsed by pretty nearly every progressive politician in the metro area.

Todd C. Scott is a lawyer and has zero endorsements and a set of platform positions free from any specifics.

I would absolutely vote for Zaynab Mohamed!


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Minnesota Secretary of State

This is another easy one.

On the DFL side of the ballot, your options are:

Steve Simon
Steve Carlson

Steve Simon
Steve Simon is the incumbent and I think he’s done a fantastic job. A+, absolutely voting for him, no question.

Steve Carlson
Steve Carlson’s website includes the year “2018” in it and also “forUSSenate,” so apparently he still hasn’t taken the free advice I offered him back in 2014, when he was running with a website that had the year “2010” in it, which is that if running for offices is your hobby, you should register a website that names neither a specific office nor gives a specific year.

Anyway. He ran for Senate as an Independence candidate in 2014. He ran for the 4th district US House seat in 2016 and the main thing I took from his website is that he’s not a good rapper. (He’s an old, white, conservative dude, so this should not be surprising.) In 2018 he ran in the DFL Primary for Senate against Amy Klobuchar and in 2020 he ran in the DFL Primary for Senate against Tina Smith.

In order to run in a partisan primary, he had to sign an affidavit of candidacy affirming that he’d either gone to his DFL Precinct Caucus in 2022 or that he intended to vote mainly for Democrats in November. He says he went to the caucus (I asked) and I am more willing to believe that Steve actually went to a DFL caucus than AJ Kern, because over on his Facebook he has a post that at least mentions caucuses, and his latest hobbyhorse (which he has ranted about over and over and over at length and in detail on Twitter) is that the DFL has a rule requiring gender balance for delegates elected to the State Convention, which makes me think he tried to become a delegate to the State Convention. (Or some slightly more selective convention, it might not have been the state one.)

Steve’s biggest obstacle in being a DFL delegate is not his race or sex but the fact that he’s an anti-gay, anti-Muslim Trump supporter with complete contempt for the bodily autonomy or human rights of women. Democrats mostly do not choose as delegates people who are this far out of step with DFL principles. Do not vote for him.

On the Republican side of the ballot you’ll find:

Erik van Mechelen
Kim Crockett (GOP endorsed)

If you take a look at Erik’s website, you will find a website devoted to Trump’s Big Lie, that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election. (Also, he wants to ban all machine counts and require a hand count of every election. I will note that we did a painstaking hand count a few years back and it took a really long time, cost a lot of money, and the Democrat won.) If you look at Kim’s website, you’ll find a bunch of doublespeak about “safeguarding” and “protecting” and “empowering.” Just to be clear, Kim is just as much of an election denier as Erik — she just knows how to say the quiet part quietly.

ETA: She managed to get fired from her job at the Center for the American Experiment (an ultraconservative area think tank) back in 2019 by being openly racist in an interview with the New York Times. “I think of America, the great assimilator, as a rubber band, but with this — we’re at the breaking point. These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible.” She issued an apology at the time, but doubled down in April of this year.

The Republican party has made it really, really, really clear that they have complete contempt for the entire concept of government of, for, and by the people. No one should trust them with elections, in Minnesota or any other state.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Minneapolis School Board (District 5)

Confusingly, all the school boards have district numbers (Minneapolis is District 1) but also Minneapolis is split into 6 geographical areas for Park Board and School District seats. This seat is on some ballots in South Minneapolis but not others. This was made extra confusing by redistricting — if you’re uncertain, you can view your sample ballot on the Secretary of State’s site by putting in your zip code and address. This seat is currently held by Nelson Inz, who is not running for re-election.

There are four people on the ballot:

Laurelle Myhra
Leslie Haugland-Smith
Elena Condos
Lori Norvell

Laurelle Myhra

Laurelle Myhra is an Anishinabe woman who directs a wellness clinic; she’s a licensed family therapist and one of her top priorities is “culturally-relevant and trauma-informed education and curriculum.” She is vice chair of the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee.

One hesitation I had about her is that she describes herself as Christian on her first page, and that can be a red flag for anti-trans bigotry specifically. I e-mailed her to ask, and she responded to say, “I do not personally support discrimination of LGBT or any other marginalized group. In fact, I’m seeking endorsement by a LGBT advocacy group.” Which reassured me a bit about her intentions if not her specific expertise there. But — she would bring a lot of expertise about the needs and traumas of Indigenous kids (and expertise about trauma-informed education generally, which I think would be genuinely useful right now.)

Leslie Haugland-Smith

Leslie Haugland-Smith wrote a letter to the editor about the schools that was published in the Star Tribune in June. I can find nothing else about her: she doesn’t seem to be on either Facebook or LinkedIn. Definitely falls into the category of “not actually running.” EDITED TO ADD: the coworker of one of her kids saw this post and sent me a link to her website, so I’ve added the link! She wants to increase enrollment, lobby the legislature for more money, and ensure that students graduate “with a sense of responsibility and purpose.”

Elena Condos

Elena Condos listed her LinkedIn page as her campaign site when she filled out her affidavit of candidacy, and when I started researching this, that’s the only page I could find. (I have complained a few times about people using their personal Facebook as their only campaign conduit so let me just say — LinkedIn is so much worse.) From this I could see that she really liked hashtags (#powerwoman #changemaker) but not much else.

She’s now got a website up, where she has an acronym to tell you what’s important to her (“TISA: Transparency, Innovation, Security, Achievement.”) She goes on to elaborate on those slightly — for example, “Security enhanced learning: Adapting our schools and staff to engage with problems before they become a police event.” That could be either very good or very bad and without more information on what she even means here, it’s hard to say. She has a management background and says, “I have over 20 years of experience in organizational management from partnering to create a strategic vision to day-to-day people and operation leadership.” My response to everything in that statement: no thank you.

Lori Norvell

Lori Norvell is the endorsed DFL candidate. She’s a parent and also worked for the Minneapolis Public schools for almost ten years as a sub, a special education assistant, and a teacher. According to her LinkedIn, she quit last year and now works as an Executive Assistant for the Hennepin Theater Trust, which makes me think she’d probably have some insight into burnout, retention, and teacher support. Her priorities look solid and she has a ton of endorsements.

So — okay, I’m going to note that on August 9th, we’re having a primary. The two top finishers will go on to the general election in November. I would vote for Laurelle Myhra in the primary election while acknowledging that I would probably vote for Lori in the general. I am confident that Lori will advance to the general so the question is, who among the other candidates will bring issues to the table that I’d like to hear discussed before November? And the answer is absolutely Laurelle, with her expertise in trauma. Absolutely. So that’s who I’d vote for in August.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Election 2022: Minneapolis School Board At-Large Primary

There are two vacancies, and no incumbents are running. School Board member Josh Pauly (elected in 2018) resigned in March during the teacher’s strike and Cindy Booker was appointed to serve out his term; she is not running. Kimberly Caprini stepped aside when she was not endorsed by the DFL.

Here’s who’s running:

KerryJo Felder
Lisa Skjefte
Harley Meyer
Jaton White
Collin Beachy
Sonya Emerick

KerryJo Felder (DFL-endorsed).

While there are no incumbents running, KerryJo has served a previous term on the school board, as the representative for North Minneapolis; she lost to Sharon El-Amin in 2020. While on the board, KerryJo was a strong advocate for the Northside schools and opposed to the CDD (comprehensive district design), and in particular, opposed to pushing it forward at the beginning of the pandemic.

With the school board, I tend to have a bias in favor of incumbents who are running for re-election, because I’m pretty sure serving on the Minneapolis school board is one of the worst elected jobs out there — you work extremely long hours for very little money and part of your job is to listen politely when people show up to say that you hate children. And that was true before the right wing added “go to the nearest school board meeting, spew transphobia” to everyone’s to-do list. It’s an extremely hard, literally thankless job, and very few people want to do it more than once, which means chronic problems with a lack of institutional memory.

I have a generally favorable impression of KerryJo. She’s also endorsed by the DFL and by the teacher’s union. I would cast one of my votes for her.

Lisa Skjefte

Lisa Skjefte is a staff member at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center and has been in the news for things like overseeing the Native Prom. However, she has no campaign website of any kind that I could find, and her Facebook page does not reference her candidacy in public posts. I think she considers herself to be running, but it’s unclear how I would find out more about her goals if elected. I would not vote for her.

Harley Meyer

Harley Meyer spent about a decade living in Thailand and teaching there; he developed a proprietary method for teaching ELL students English and (he says) for teaching high school algebra to second graders, and he is running for school board because he wants to put his personal research into practice in Minneapolis schools.

Do I sound skeptical? Here’s the thing: the vast majority of the time, when people think they’ve discovered an easily replicable magic to teaching kids some skill that’s typically hard-earned, they have not. I would also, honestly, really question the value of teaching high school algebra in elementary school. What elementary schoolers are often learning is a bunch of math-related skills that are in fact a lot more broadly useful than algebra: they’re learning arithmetic, fractions, decimals, all the foundational pieces that they’ll hopefully draw on for years to come to know why a sign offering something for “$2.33 each, or two for $5!” is funny. My older kid did an enrichment program with algebra in early elementary school that was pretty great, and that was something more kids should have access to, but it also wasn’t high school algebra, it didn’t replace Algebra 1 and 2 later on.

I sent everyone an e-mail about reading instruction (phonics vs. “balanced literacy,” basically) and got back a prompt response in which he expanded on his educational theories, which includes a dismissal of “the philosophical debate between ‘Whole Language’ v. ‘Balanced Literacy’ v. ‘Phonics'” as ” a debate created by textbook publishers to sell their materials. It has nothing to do with helping people to learn to read.”

Here’s the thing about curricula, basically just across the board: they kind of all suck but I really do see them as a necessary evil, because kids are not taught by one person from K through 8th grade, they get passed from teacher to teacher, and if you don’t have some sort of guide to what they cover when, important stuff get skipped or else taught over and over.

(Edited to clean up some stray text, and can I just say, I AM VERY FRUSTRATED WITH WORDPRESS THIS WEEK. ***heavy sigh***.)

little arithmetic, a little geometry and a little statistics, a little algebra, etc.

I kind of think Harley Meyer should write a book about his educational theories and approach, and sell it, because then people could try it out and see if they thought it worked well for other people or just for him. I do not think he should be elected to the Minneapolis school board, though, so I wouldn’t vote for him.

Jaton White

When I started this writeup Jaton’s website wasn’t working, so I did some Googling and turned up some news articles about the Northside Achievement Zone (she’s Director of Wellness). She now has a website up, but there isn’t a whole lot there. (A video that looks like it should have sound but does not, a couple of goals that suggest you can click for more info but nothing loads.) I would not vote for her.

Collin Beachy (DFL-endorsed)

Collin Beachy is one of the two candidates endorsed by the DFL (the other is KerryJo). He’s a special ed teacher who works at Transitions Plus (a school that helps students with significant disabilities with the transition to adulthood).

His “Why I’m Running” page is interesting, because it’s stuff I broadly agree with but a lot of it is teacher-centered. His first priority is doing an examination of why the strike happened and how to avoid a strike in the future. His second listed priority is “high expectations and clear goals,” but this doesn’t talk about goals regarding student achievement, this talks about getting money from the state. Third is “accountability and focus,” but I’ve read that set of bullet points three times and I’m still not sure what he actually wants to do. He mentions “vetting the flow of information coming from the administration” and “enacting more oversight of the administration and their cabinet” which honestly sounds to me like adding yet another layer of administration, this one to oversee the administration. The next point, “equitable programming,” is fine, as is “recruit and retain BIPOC staff.”

He genuinely strikes me as a lovely person, and maybe a teacher-centric perspective on the school board would add something we need post-strike? I like him, but I think right now he’s my #3. (You get two votes.)

Sonya Emerick

Sonya Emerick is the queer nonbinary autistic parent of a disabled child, and is on the MPS Special Education Advisory Council. Their website is fairly spare, but their Facebook and Twitter have more details on their priorities. I e-mailed everyone a question about reading instruction (phonics vs. “balanced literacy,” basically) and got back a prompt answer from Sonya that made it clear they (a) pay attention to the science, (b) know exactly which curricula use it, and (c) pay attention to the weaknesses of phonics-based curricula (“I do believe that [Science of Reading] informed methods need to be delivered in culturally sustaining ways, which requires thoughtfulness across instructional design, environments, materials, assessments, and requires actively recruiting educators of color and supporting and valuing those we already have. I also think increased partnership with families and communities around literacy would benefit some of the students facing real belief gap barriers at school.”) Anyway, I was impressed with their response and their knowledge about the issue I asked about, and I think MPS would benefit from having a school board representative with personal expertise on accessibility issues. I would vote for Sonya Emerick.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: US House 05

The good news for me with this post is, I already kind of did the homework on this one back in February when Don Samuels first started exploring a run.

On the Democratic primary ballot:

Ilhan Omar (incumbent)
Don Samuels
Albert Ross
AJ Kern
Nate Schluter

Nate Schluter
I initially thought he had no website, but one of my Twitter followers found it! It … doesn’t really help much. He likes football metaphors, is susceptible to scams, and expresses some really gross nativist bullshit on his blog. He does at least appear to be a Democrat.

AJ Kern
AJ Kern is a “Conservative Christian” and right-wing asshole who wants “standing” to question Ilhan Omar’s citizenship. Did you know that when you sign an Affidavit of Candidacy to file as a party candidate in a major party, you affirm, among other things, “I either participated in the party’s most recent precinct caucuses or intend to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates at the next general election.” When you sign in at a caucus you affirm that you are broadly in agreement with the principles of the party. What I’m saying is, AJ Kern blatantly perjured herself, and I know it’s not worth anyone’s time to pursue it, but it’s garbage she’s even on here. Oh, she’s challenging Don Samuels’ citizenship, too. What a profoundly toxic asshole (and liar).

Albert Ross
Albert Ross has an unreadable, largely content-free website. (“Driven by making an impact and inspiring change, our Political Movement is always expanding our understanding of contemporary issues and developing our campaign to push for positive solutions. Learn more about our focus below.” Narrator voice: there’s nothing below this.) He does at least appear to be a Democrat.

Don Samuels

I was talking to a St. Paul friend about this race and summed up Don as a buffoon with a body count.

In 2005, he explained that his family (he’s from Jamaica) had a leg up on everyone else because they were descended from house slaves rather than field slaves. (“The reason that my family got a leg up on the people in our village in Jamaica is that we were in the big house. We saw homework done. They saw books read. They saw the piano lessons. And that’s why my wife and I say, ‘we want our house to be the big house on our block.’ And we’re going to open it up to every kid on our block.”)

ETA: he also sat for an interview with the late Sarah Janacek and in his discussion of Katrina’s aftermath he said the following: “Those were dark faces on those women, almost bizarrely unblended. They looked like they were from Haiti or Africa. This is part of the unspoken evolution of race. We cannot seem to talk about the reality that lighter- skinned black people are more likely to escape poverty.” The “unspoken evolution” line made me flinch because I don’t think he was just talking here about the damage done by colorism, especially given his comments (that came at the same time as that “big house” line) about being descended from mixed-race people. (That line is making me cringe so hard I’m just going to link, not quote, but I’m going to say, I find it kind of shocking that the 2013 mayoral profile that I linked earlier excises that line?)

In 2007, while a City Council member, he said that he thought North High should be burned down. Worth noting that this hyperbole was part of a push for vouchers.

In 2012, he had an op-ed published in which he described confronting someone for public urination, who then stole Don’s phone, only Don used the Find my IPhone feature plus the services of the cops to retrieve it and have the thief arrested, at which point he delivered a long lecture to the thief. (Two notes about this. First, I have known a ton of people who’ve had Apple products stolen, have known exactly where they are thanks to Find My iPhone, and usually have had zero luck getting cops to help them get their devices back. Second, there are multiple spots in this story that had a distinct “AND THEN EVERYONE CLAPPED” vibe.)

Don was a Vikings stadium supporter and after voting to approve it in 2013 (overriding the law that was supposed to require a municipal referendum) he had this comment about being surprised to be handed “an envelope with … a couple grand” from trade unions. This was at least less corrupt than his giddy comments made it sound. Overriding the will of the people to build a giant sports palace was, and remains, bullshit.

In 2014, he called the cops on a hot dog giveaway being run by a neighborhood organization trying to encourage people to vote. He said he thought they were selling the hot dogs illegally. They had a large sign saying “Free Hot Dogs” and were doing this right outside their organization’s office, which Don had been to. (There’s a video of the conversation between the organizers and the cop that includes the cop saying in a slightly confused tone, “I’m here … for the grilling of the food,” which clarifies that Don literally called 911 over this.) (In 2021, he claimed in a Facebook thread about this that there had been repeated grilling incidents and it was a fire hazard.)

Last year, he endorsed Mickey Moore and only retracted his endorsement because it turned out Mickey didn’t live in the district. He also went driving around in his underwear to pursue a guy who was rifling his car for change. And having sued in 2020 to force Minneapolis to hire more police, he sued in 2021 to have the public safety charter amendment tossed off the ballot. This was in cooperation with the (right-wing) Center for the American Experiment; additional friendly ties to CAE are documented here (or see this Twitter thread).

All of this buffoonery pales next to the incident where he and his wife took some neighborhood kids on an outing and let everyone go wading in the Mississippi River. Don can’t swim. When two of the little boys lost their footing and were pulled away by the current, Don’s wife Sondra was the only one who could go after them, and one of the children drowned. This happened in the summer of 2020 and was a heartbreaking, awful accident.

Which Don joked about earlier this year. (In response to someone talking about the incident and the incredible hubris involved in running for office a a year and a half after a child died because of your poor judgment, Don tweeted, “Can’t swim but can govern.”)

When I first saw that tweet, I honestly just assumed that “donsamuels49” was a satirical troll with extremely bad taste. I was absolutely flabbergasted to find out this was actually Don joking about the death of a child who was in his care.

Ilhan Omar

At this point, you probably know whether or not you like Ilhan Omar. Or maybe it varies by week. (There are definitely weeks I am annoyed at her but this week I’m a fan.)

I would absolutely without hesitation vote for her in this race!

On the Republican side there are three people running:

Royce White
Cicely Davis (GOP endorsed)
Guy T Gaskin

It literally does not matter which of these people you vote for because none of them have any chance, at all, of winning, and they’re all awful. I guess the fact that Royce White’s website uses the term “globalist” (an antisemitic dogwhistle) in practically every sentence makes him extra awful, so if you’re voting in this race for some reason, go with Cicely Davis.

Post-primary, be sure to tell your Republican family members in other states how extremely worried everyone here is about Ilhan losing, so they send their money to her opponent rather than Republicans running in actual swing districts.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Hennepin County Attorney

This is a nonpartisan race, which means that if you live in Hennepin County you can vote in this race regardless of which partisan primary you voted in, and the top two vote-getters will go to the general election ballot in November.

This is a pretty complicated race. Seven people are running; all are serious candidates who are basically qualified for the job (in the sense that they all have law degrees, in contrast to the candidates for Attorney General, which include several people who do not). On the ballot:

Jarvis Jones
Tad Jude
Paul Ostrow
Ryan Winkler
Saraswati Singh
Mary Moriarty
Martha Holton Dimick

In researching this race, I looked at everyone’s website and social media, I sent everyone a question (mostly by e-mail), and I watched the LWV forum (which I highly recommend as a source). I read a long Facebook post by a local defense lawyer (Jordan Kushner) who’s been in practice for a long time, and some of the questionnaires at People Over Prosecution. And a bunch of other stuff. There’s a lot of information out there. So much information. I want my faithful readers to know that I have absolutely missed stuff in this race because unlike some races, where you have to dig and dig to turn up much of anything, this is a race where you can drown in information.

Putting in a “read more” break because this one’s going to run long.

Continue reading

Primary Elections 2022: Minnesota Attorney General

I actually got an e-mail from someone asking about this one this morning so I’m going to do it quickly (it’s another very straightforward race.)

DFL Attorney General Primary

Keith Ellison (incumbent, DFL-endorsed)
Bill Dahn

I am really pretty happy with the job Keith Ellison has done in the last four years, and I will talk more about this when I write about this race in the general election. In the primary, though, your options here are Keith, and … uh, this other guy. Bill Dahn’s website that he linked from his affidavit doesn’t work. I found another website here but it actually seems to be maintained by Sharon Anderson (also running for AG but on the Republican ticket, see below) and that may explain why so many of the documents on there seem to have literally nothing to do with him? Or possibly not. He has a Twitter on which he airs his two primary grievances, police officers with ‘roid rage and Jesse Ventura having paid the filing fee for him so he could re-register in the GOP primary race for governor instead of the Reform primary race for governor in 1998. (You can find area weirdo Leslie Davis explaining that controversy at great and extensive length here.) To sum up: Bill Dahn is a guy with a list of extremely niche grievances and he doesn’t belong anywhere near the AG’s office. Vote for Keith Ellison.

GOP Attorney General Primary

Jim Schultz (GOP endorsed)
Doug Wardlow
Sharon Anderson

Doug Wardlow is a far-right extremist who pals around with traitors, spreads Trump’s Big Lie about the election, and would one HUNDRED percent do anything he can think of to persecute anyone who comes to Minnesota to get a legal abortion. (Note that his website emphasizes creating a “human trafficking unit” and let’s just be clear about this: the right wing is already working on ways to use human trafficking laws to stop people from crossing state lines in order to get an abortion.)

Jim Schultz is a fellow far-right extremist who’s doing his best to keep his views under wraps by responding to questions about abortion by saying that no one cares about abortion and responding to questions about whether he thinks our elections are fair (n.b.: they are) by just not answering the questions at all (although he has a shout-out to the people who think there was fraud over on his website). Wardlow, of course, calls him a RINO. Schultz is running on crime, crime, and crime, with a website that as close to content-free as he could get it. I just want to note, though, that I really vehemently disagree with his theory that no one actually cares about abortion because we’re all more focused on crime. I care deeply about abortion, and while I think it’s unlikely to be made illegal in Minnesota in the next four years, I absolutely think that the rights of women to engage in interstate travel are going to be up for debate, and the prospect of an Attorney General who’d be tempted to side with the forced-birth legislators in Arkansas is completely unacceptable to me.

Sharon Anderson, okay. I’ve written about her before, a couple of times, but here’s a quick C&P from what’s currently at the top of her blog-slash-election-site. I’ve pasted as plain text to remove all the weird formatting and also the links, go on over to see the original if you want the full effect.

Sharon must because of Medical Malpractice must citre Keith Ellison as the Minnesota AntiChrist.
magner v. gallagher – Google Search
Affiant Widow,White Whistleblower state and alleges re penalty of perjury free speech that in her humnble, opinion Keith Ellison is the Anti Christ, further complicit with former Dnc Chair Tom Perez to Q
Minnesota Attorney General election, 2022 (August 9 Republican primary) – Ballotpediauid Pro Quo dismiss ussc 10-1032 titled Magner vs Gallagher
files Consumer Complaint vs. Facebook, Zuckerberg with her opponent for MN
Jim Schultz (Minnesota)AG Muslin Keith Ellison, who answers to Quran
and not the State and Federal Constitution.
Today
FB exploiting Blindness You Zuckberg are conflictig, arbitrarily, discriminating vs Affiant Sharon Anderson with manulipating e address etc.
THEREFORE: Legal notice to opponent mUSLIN kEITH eLLISON MN AG RE http://sharon4mnag.blogspot.com

Ha ha ha yeah anyway. This lady? WON the Republican Primary back in 1994. She was the Republican candidate in the general election in 1994. (Minnesota politics in the 90s were wild.)

Absolutely any of these candidates would be a disaster as AG but in Sharon’s case the Republican party would be unlikely to rally behind her (they didn’t in 1994, they just pretended that race wasn’t happening) because there’s “saying the quiet part loud” and then there’s … whatever this is. So if I were going with the Chaos Option and voting for Bobagain at the top of the ticket, I’d be tempted to vote for Sharon next. But not because I think she should be AG, just to be clear. I am absolutely voting for Keith Ellison in the general election regardless of who his opponent is.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Governor

So I know I said I was just going to leave this for later but I did the thing where I e-mailed a bunch of candidates (in other races, not this one) and now feel duty-bound to actually wait until they’ve had a reasonable amount of time to get back to me (especially the one whose campaign manager e-mailed me back and said he’s out of town) and anyway, this one is straightforward and I can feel like I’m accomplishing something because I’ll have another post up.

In the Governor’s race, there are contests on the ballot for Republicans, Democrats, and both weed parties. Here’s how primaries work in Minnesota: you get a ballot and it’s divided up into sections by party, and you have to pick a party to vote in. You can vote in all the Republican primaries, or all the DFL primaries, or all the Grassroots primaries (there’s only one), or all the Legal Marijuana Now primaries (again, there’s only one). You can also vote in all the nonpartisan primaries regardless — those are typically on the other side of the ballot. If you vote in multiple party primaries (even if you pick different races) you have spoiled your ballot and it will not be counted. (If you’re voting in person, the machine will spit your ballot out and you can trade it in for a fresh ballot and try again.)

DFL: Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan vs. Ole Savior and Julia M Parker.

You know who Tim Walz is and you probably know if you’re happy with him or not. But even if you’re not happy with him, your alternative on the primary ballot is Ole Savior, this guy whose long-time hobby is running in elections. He ran for governor, also in the DFL primary, in 2018, when I described him as the “quintessential flake candidate.”

Here’s the thing that’s kind of weird: I swear I remember that he died. Like I saw a news story about Ole Savior, long-time perennial candidate, dying, and thinking, “gosh, one fewer person on the ballot next time!” and … apparently I hallucinated this? Or dreamed it? It only counts as the Mandela Effect if other people remember it (like the Berensteain Bears) but seriously Ole turning up on the ballot felt like a glitch in the Matrix. I am going to vote for Tim, because there’s an actual primary in the DFL congressional race in 4 and so I’m voting in the Democratic races, and I’m not unhappy enough with Tim to risk even the narrow possibility of an Ole win. (It’s a very, very, very narrow possibility but you never know.)

GOP: Scott Jensen and Matt Birk vs. Joyce Lynne Lacey and Kent Edwards vs. Bob “Again” Carney Jr and Captain Jack Sparrow

Scott Jensen is the right-wing ghoul, forced birther, antivaxxer, ivermectin promoter and provider who got the GOP endorsement. He’s probably going to win the primary.

Joyce Lacey has an impressively pointless website. She has a section labeled “blog” and if you go there, you’ll see a photo of her with a sign saying “viruses come and go, loss of freedom is forever” and the post title “Defending our Freedom” and a photo of her with a sign saying “Life Is For Everyone” with the post title “Defending the Right to Life for All Ages.” If you click on either post, you will find that neither post has any text — they’re just the photo. She does have a Twitter on which she mentions some activism around abuse of guardianship, but her website doesn’t mention it.

BobAgain is another perennial candidate, as is Jack Sparrow, and I’m amused by the team-up. Bob is also running in the First District congressional district special election primary (because of course, this means he can run for two things back to back! presumably if he wins that one he’ll withdraw from the gubernatorial primary but the risk here is not high.)

My favorite bit of Bob’s website is that he has a secret plan for a Viking Super Bowl victory. (This is from his application form for a running mate, which is still up):

Dr. Scott Jensen, one of the GOP candidates, has selected former Viking Matt Birk as his running mate. If they’re endorsed, I’d like to be able to roll out a plan for the Vikings to win the Super Bowl by 2025 – if you know a lot about football, I’ll give your candidacy preferential consideration. To be blunt – winning the Super Bowl is something a lot of Minnesota voters may be more interested in than anything some politico says! This is all part of a general effort to encourage people to think differently – and to begin talking when that otherwise might not happen. (I actually do have a “secret plan” for how to do this – if Jensen/Birk is nominated at the convention it could be rolled out in book form during the campaign – you could possibly help write it and be a co-author. There is an admittedly lighthearted aspect to this. There would be some “serious side effects” from following the plan – that would be worth discussing too – but… bottom line… it could be done.)

If I were voting in the Republican races, I would absolutely vote for Bobagain to be the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis: Darrell Paulsen and Ed Engelmann vs. Steve Patterson and Matt Huff.

It took a lot of digging to find Darrel Paulsen’s website. Googling got me to his LinkedIn, which pointed me to the Facebook of his company, Paulsen and Company, which had a link to his Twitter, which when I scrolled down a bit had a link to his website. He’s a disability advocate and wheelchair user (his website had a link to this really interesting article from a few years ago about his and his wife’s parenting experiences). Anyway, he came to cannabis legalization via disability advocacy, I think.

Steve Patterson’s issues page starts out with a whine about the COVID lockdown (“My business partner Brian Miller and I were on pace to open Prime Stein Brewery in Rochester in June of 2020. That plan was derailed by Governor Walz and he created his first of several overly aggressive executive orders stating that no one could leave their home unless they were going to work.”) Moves on to the statement “I also do not believe in free healthcare as I think if it was free it should be abused” and wraps up with him wanting to enact the “Castle Doctrine” in Minnesota. Whee. I look at people like this and wonder why they’re not running as Libertarians? I assume it’s because the Libertarians aren’t a major party and Grassroots is at the moment.

If I were voting in this primary, which to be honest I have no idea why anyone would, I would vote for Darrel Paulsen.

Legal Marijuana Now Party: Chris Wright and L.C. Lawrence Converse vs. James McCaskel and David Sandbeck.

Chris Wright is one of the founders of the Grassroots party so I find it very funny he’s now running in the LMP primary. His issues page is a mix of “sure, that DFL proposal sounds great” and “I don’t know enough about monetary policy to truly evaluate your proposal but I’m pretty sure you don’t either.” He doesn’t comment on the accidental legalization of THC (none of the weed candidates do, that I saw) but he does have a long rant about why the other legalization bill proposed by the DFL and shot down by the Republicans is basically just as bad as keeping weed criminalized (because there’s a licensing requirement and taxes and stuff.)

Much like how Patterson is a Libertarian running on a weed party ticket because it’s a major party, James McCaskel is a Green running on a weed party ticket because it’s a major party. The text on his Platform page is bold, underlined, and centered, and thus really difficult to read, but they’re basically the Green Party’s Ten Key Values.

If forced to choose between these two people, I guess I would go with Chris Wright on the grounds that at least with him, weed is genuinely central to his political philosophy, he’s not a Green who’s hitchhiking on the LMP because they’re a major party right now and the Greens aren’t.

Honestly, for anyone who’s embracing chaos in their approach to the partisan primaries, you’re not going to beat Bob Again as an option.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

Primary Elections 2022: Hennepin County Sheriff

I’m starting with an easy one — though, hmm, how should I say this, this is one of those races that feels jinxed for me personally because I strongly supported Dave Hutchinson four years ago and while I do in fact think he was the lesser available evil compared to having Stanek in office from 2018 through 2022, the guy also drove while absolutely hammered, crashed his car while going 126 mph, and lied to try to cover it up. (Modern cars are a wonder of technology.) (And then yesterday another story about Hutch hit, which was about him appearing to engage in a pattern of deliberately overspending because the county was garnishing his paychecks to cover the cost of the car he crashed while shitfaced, and when I went just now to look for that link I found a NEW story about him sending racist and homophobic texts to subordinates.)

Anyway. In 2022, there are three people running, two of whom will advance to the general.

Jai Hanson
Dawanna Witt
Joseph Banks

Jai Hanson

Jai Hanson is a Bloomington police officer who was adopted from India as a child. Two minutes of reading his website made it pretty goddamn clear why I don’t think anyone should support him.

Hanson was disgusted by the video of officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and he was disgusted at the destruction.

THESE TWO THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME AND EQUATING THEM IS HORRIFYING. (And yes, this framing absolutely suggests that these are two things of equal weight.)

Later, he drove to his parents’ house, and in their front window he saw a big sign. “SAY THEIR NAMES,” it read, listing people killed by police. Anti-police sentiment was everywhere. Now it felt like it was in his childhood home.

And Jai Hanson was furious. […] The sign felt flippant and anti-law enforcement. He drove off in a huff. Later, he wrote his dad an e-mail that the sign deeply offended him. In 14 years in law enforcement, he’d never heard his parents express sadness about a police officer getting killed.

His snit over this sign was less than a week after George Floyd was murdered. And regarding memorializing police officers: there are multiple big stone memorials on the capitol grounds and another one at the airport and that’s off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure there are others around the area. When Ron Ryan Jr. and Timothy Jones (and Jones’ dog) were murdered in 1994, the city mourned and their murderer was swiftly sentenced to life in prison.

And honestly: this is all I really need to know about Jai. He’s a police officer who immediately made a crime committed by a police officer all about his hurt feelings as a police officer. I would absolutely not vote for him, regardless of his other positions.

Today I saw a news story about a Somali woman who was named teacher of the year in 2020 who is now leaving teaching. One of the incidents mentioned in her reasons why: after she read the picture book Something Happened In My Town, which was written specifically to help young kids process the trauma of high-profile police violence happening in their community, Jai condemned this on his blog, inciting a huge amount of harassment. (And also, you know, complaining about reading a book that was written to help kids process trauma that the kids in our community experienced and his rationale for his bitching about this was, “it’ll teach them to be afraid of police.” Jai, kids in the Twin Cities are afraid of police because a police officer murdered a man in front of cameras while three other cops stood by, and then another police officer murdered a man because apparently she couldn’t tell her taser from her sidearm, and then a SWAT team murdered a man after breaking into his house in the middle of the night. Kids in the Twin Cities are afraid of police because the police have demonstrated that they’re really fucking dangerous to the community.

Dawanna Witt

Dawanna Witt works in the Sheriff’s office; she’s a Black woman who’s spent 22 years working in law enforcement. Her website emphasizes public safety and restoring trust. She’s endorsed by the DFL and I think all the DFL electeds who have endorsed in this race have endorsed Dawanna.

Worth noting for those who want someone law-and-order-y — Dawanna is endorsed by the DFL Senior Caucus, LaTrisha Vetaw, and Dean Phillips. She starts out by talking about prioritizing violent crime. So like: you’ll get that. There’s no option that isn’t that. With Dawanna you can have that but without the whining and “actually, it’s police officers who are the real victims” bullshit of Jai.

Joseph Banks

Two weeks ago, a friend noticed that Joseph Banks had an events calendar on his website that had zero Joseph Banks events but was displaying all upcoming Yankees games. He’s now fixed that, but the “Become a Volunteer!” button on his Get Involved page says, “I’m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.”

Joseph ran four years ago and my main comment on him at the time was that he hadn’t seemed to get much traction. That seems to be true this time, as well. I watched the LWV forum for Sheriff candidates and Joseph seems smart and committed, but so does Dawanna.

I would vote for Dawanna in the primary and I would vote for whoever isn’t Jai Hanson in the general election. Fingers crossed that the next Hennepin County Sheriff is smart enough to stay at the hotel instead of driving home shitfaced and also won’t be a racist Trump supporter! Seriously the lowest of low bars. The absolute lowest.


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.