MN Precinct Caucuses: No Longer a Presidential Primary, but Still Happening

So heyyyyyyyyyyyy, my fellow Minnesotans, as you (hopefully) know, this year we have a PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (which I will write about shortly) THAT IS HAPPENING AS AN ACTUAL ELECTION ON MARCH 3RD. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to casting a ballot for my preferred Democrat at my usual polling place, it’s going to be so great.

But! Caucuses are still happening, and you can still go. They’re happening on February 25th, and you can find the location of yours via the Secretary of State caucus finder page. Note that the Republican and Democratic caucuses take place on the same night but (usually) in very different locations. Do not go to the Republican caucus and then look around for the DFL caucus; you will not find it.

Caucuses are basically the grassroots-level party meeting for the political parties. Things you can do at a DFL caucus (I think you can also do most of these at a GOP caucus but I’ve never gone):

  • You can introduce a resolution, which is forwarded up the chain and used to write and revise the state party platform.
  • You can often meet elected officials and candidates, and hear them speak.
  • You can often sign up to hold office within your local party unit. (In theory you “run” for these jobs but in practice you usually “raise your hand when they ask who’s interested.”)
  • You can often sign up to be a delegate to your Senate District convention, where you’ll have the opportunity to endorse candidates for State House and State Senate, and elect delegates to go to the State DFL convention (and, ultimately, the Democratic National convention).

In my opinion, it’s the opportunity to be a delegate to your Senate District convention that is the main reason to go — at least if there’s an open seat, or a challenger. The DFL endorsement has historically been extremely powerful in legislative races, and it’s the Senate District conventions where these endorsements are given or denied.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike this system. But if you have the time and wherewithal to go to your Senate District convention, it’ll be you with the outsized piece of political influence. Which might be an improvement. Or you could go and do your best to block endorsement; that’s also an option. (Here’s my Beginner’s Guide to Senate District Conventions, for those who need it.)

There are a number of vacancies this year, as well as incumbents with challengers. (Here’s a handy article from MinnPost with a list of who they know is running.) Below, you will find my best attempt at a guide to whether your Senate District convention (which also includes the conventions for your State House district, as a convention-within-the-convention) is likely to be worth attending.

A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT NOTES.

  1. I based my “is this person opposed?” mostly on that MinnPost article. For any open seat, expect additional people to join the race.
  2. If you become a delegate and the endorsement is contested, you will be contacted by everyone running. They will all either call you or show up at your house to knock on your door, or both. Some people find this intrusive. I really like it: it means I get to chat with the actual candidates and ask them all my questions. But mileage varies here.
  3. I do not write up races prior to endorsement. You’ll have to do your own research. Which should be easy enough because the candidates will literally be knocking on your doors. Ask them your questions!

  4. If you want to go to your Senate District convention and can’t make it to your caucus, you can send in a form asking to be made a delegate in absentia. There’s a decent chance you’ll at least get to be an alternate.

Of course, the Senate District convention is basically an all-day event, and are you even available? I have included dates and location information. (Many thanks to the person who sent me the spreadsheet after I complained on Twitter about this information not being available.)

Senate District 59
Senator Bobby Joe Champion
59A Rep Fue Lee
59B Rep Raymond Dehn

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes, Bobby Joe Champion is being challenged by Suleiman Isse, and Raymond Dehn is being challenged by Esther Agbaje and Isaiah Whitmore.

When is the SD 59 convention? March 28th, convening at 9:30 a.m., North Community High School (Jacobi Gym).

Senate District 60
Senator Kari Dziedzic
60A Rep Sydney Jordan
60B Rep Mohamud Noor

Is anyone here being challenged? Given that Sydney was elected last month after an 11-person special primary, it seems really likely that she’ll be challenged, but no one’s listed in the MinnPost article.

When is the SD 60 convention? April 18, convening at 9 a.m., Edison High School.

Senate District 61
Senator Scott Dibble
61A Rep Frank Hornstein
61B Rep Jamie Long

Is anyone here being challenged? If so, I found no information about challengers when I looked.

When is the SD 61 convention? March 21st, at Washburn High School.

Senate District 62
Senator Jeff Hayden
62A Rep Hodan Hassan
62B Rep Aisha Gomez

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes, Jeff Hayden is being challenged by Omar Fateh.

When is the SD 62 convention? March 28th, 9 a.m., at South High School.

Senate District 63
Senator Patricia Torres Ray
63A Rep Jim Davnie
63B Rep Jean Wagenius

Is anyone here being challenged? Jean Wagenius is not running again, and there are at least five people running for her seat: Husniyah Dent Bradley, Jerome Evans, Eric Ferguson, Emma Greenman, and Tyler Moroles.

When is the Senate District Convention? April 19th, 11 a.m., Sanford Middle School.

Senate District 64
Senator Dick Cohen
64A Rep Kaohly Her
64B Rep Dave Pinto

Is anyone here being challenged? After being challenged by Erin Murphy, Dick Cohen decided not to run again. At the moment, she appears to be the only person running for the seat, and possibly no one who might be interested is going to bother challenging her for the endorsement.

When is the Senate District convention? March 15th, 1 p.m., Central High School.

Senate District 65
Senator Sandy Pappas
65A Rep Rena Moran
65B Rep Carlos Mariani

Is anyone here being challenged? Not according to the MinnPost article.

When is the Senate District convention? March 14th, 10 a.m., St. Paul Central High.

Senate District 66
Senator John Marty
66A Rep Alice Hausman
66B Rep John Lesch

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes. In 66A, Alice Hausman is being challenged by Cari Ness and Tanner Sunderman. In 66B, John Lesch is being challenged by Athena Hollins.

When is the Senate District convention? Saturday, April 11th, 9 a.m., at Washington Tech high school.

Senate District 67
Senator Foung Hawj
67A Rep Tim Mahoney
67B Rep Jay Xiong

Is anyone here being challenged? Tim Mahoney is not running again. Hoang Murphy and John Thompson are running for his seat.

When is the Senate District convention? March 28th, 9:30 a.m., Harding High School.

 

 

 

 

My 2019 Fiction Roundup

The cover of my book, CATFISHING ON CATNET. Shows a teenage girl looking in alarm at her cell phone, with the tagline, "How much does the internet know about you?"

The only fiction I had published in 2019 was my novel, CATFISHING ON CATNET. If you’re nominating for awards, the Hugos, the Nebulas, and the Locus Awards all have a special category for YA. (Okay, technically the Andre Norton Award may be a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Nebulas, and the Lodestar Award is a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Hugos.)

It is also eligible in the novel category.

It is currently a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award (!) and the Edgar Award (!!) (that one still blows my mind.) My publisher also ran out of printed copies and had to order another run — so if you tried to buy it locally and couldn’t, just know that it should be available again shortly!

Since the beginning of 2020 I’ve had a short story published on Clarkesworld (“Monster“) and my short story “Little Free Library” will appear on Tor.com this spring. The sequel to CATFISHING ON CATNET is scheduled to come out in April of 2021.

Election 2020: Special Election, State Representative District 60A

Oh hey, 60A people, you have an election on Tuesday. Your options:

Sydney Jordan (DFL)
Marty Super (Legal Marijuana Now party)

Sydney is a Democrat and seems fine. Marty hasn’t bothered to set up a website. He does seem to have a personal Facebook with a number of world-readable posts. I visited, and found out that he likes Bernie, weed, and Bernie’s stance on weed.

(Edited to add: I would vote for Sydney, in case that wasn’t clear from “seems fine.”)

If you had an opinion about this race, I hope you voted in the primary.

There’s going to be another special election this year, for the Minneapolis City Council, Ward 6, because Abdi Warsame is resigning to take over leading the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. I’ll write about that once it actually starts happening. And I’m going to write about the Presidential Primary, but not until after New Hampshire votes.

CATFISHING ON CATNET news

Catfishing on CatNet came out in November from Tor Teen. If you don’t yet have a copy, you can order it from Amazon or BN.com or Uncle Hugo‘s (which may have signed copies) or Dreamhaven (ditto) or buy at your own local independent bookstore. It is also available as an audiobook! And you can read an excerpt from it here.

Last week I found out it was a finalist for the Edgar Award in the YA category. This was incredibly exciting for a whole lot of reasons — I’m familiar with the Edgar Awards (because they are the top award in the mystery genre) but it’s not an award I had ever thought I might be honored with.

There are awards where they call you up or e-mail you, where you know before the announcement but can’t tell anyone. (The Hugo Awards and the Nebula Awards both let you know in advance, and then you have to sit on the info.) I found out about the Edgar Awards from Twitter. Specifically, I got tagged in a congratulatory Tweet, and my mental process went something like:

  1. Oh, I’m being congratulated with a group of other writers, probably for a nice review.
  2. Wait, this link is talking about the Edgar Awards.
  3. HOLY SHIT.

And then a few days later I found out that Catfishing on CatNet is also a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards, which are more specifically local but also a really big deal.

Anyway, I’m really excited!

For fans of my short fiction: I also had a short story come out this month in Clarkesworld, “Monster.”

Election 2020: Special Primary, State Representative District 60A (analysis)

District 60A, which is mostly Northeast Minneapolis but also includes a little bit of Southeast, is having an election on January 21st. (Not sure if you live in 60A? You can find out here.) To be clear: January 21st is the DFL Primary, and it’s also almost certainly where the next representative for 60A will be decided. There is a general election on February 4th; the only non-DFLer running is Marty Super of Legal Marijuana Now.

Whoever wins will serve in the upcoming legislative session, then (presumably) run for re-election in November of 2020 for a full two-year term.

This is a really rough time of year to be running a special election. People tend to be busy and distracted in December; it’s also likely to be cold/snowy/sleeting/just a terrible time of year to go out and door-knock. There are also eleven candidates.

Here’s who’s running, with links to websites. 

Piyali Nath Dalal
Mohamed Issa Barre
Sydney Jordan
Saciido Shaie
Zachary Wefel
Susan Whitaker
Aaron Neumann
Jessica Intermill
Aswar Rahman
Amal Ibrahim
Sonia Neculescu

Other useful information you can find online:

  • John Edwards of WedgeLive sent out a questionnaire to the candidates, and most responded; you can find all their answers here.
  • The DFL held a candidate forum on January 11th. Everyone attended except for Mohamed Barre. You can view it on Facebook: Part One and Part Two. Part One, you probably want to skip about 20 minutes in to get to the actual forum. There are some sound issues early on but they got straightened out pretty quickly.
  • Another forum was held on January 13th. It’s also on Facebook; you can watch it here. All eleven candidates participated.
  • The local DFL also requested that the candidates all fill out a questionnaire with some detailed questions about their beliefs and policy ideas. Everyone other than Mohamed Barre completed the questionnaire, and you can find their answers on the Senate District 60 DFL site.

My analysis (but first, an analysis of how I’m analyzing people) below the cut.

Continue reading

Election 2020: Special Election, State Representative District 60A

You were probably not expecting to see an elections post from me at least until February, but as it happens, State House District 60A is having a special election due to the death of Rep. Diane Loeffler. The Special Primary election will be held on January 21st — and, just to be clear, that’s where the action is. Twelve people have filed to run for this seat. Eleven of them are DFLers. The remaining person running is from the Legal Marijuana Now party. The primary will be intense and competitive. I think it is quite likely that unless something very strange happens, whichever DFLer wins the primary will coast to victory in the general on February 4th. 

I’m going to do a full writeup of the primary candidates later this month, but for now, having tracked down everyone’s website, I wanted to provide the list of candidates and where to find them online.

Here’s who’s running, with links to websites. If you have information on a website that I missed, please drop me a comment with the URL and I will edit.

Piyali Nath Dalal
Mohamed Issa Barre
Sydney Jordan
Saciido Shaie
Zachary Wefel
Susan Whitaker
Aaron Neumann
Jessica Intermill
Aswar Rahman
Amal Ibrahim
Sonia Neculescu

Also, Marty Super of the Legal Marijuana Now party will be on the ballot facing whichever DFLer wins the primary. I have not found a website for him yet.

This is a state legislative election, and not a city election, so it will not be done instant-runoff style. You will get to pick one, and whoever gets the most votes wins.

Edited 1/12 to add: a candidate forum was held and everyone other than Mohamed Barre attended. You can view it on Facebook:

Part One
Part Two

Part One, you probably want to skip about 20 minutes in to get to the actual forum. There are some sound issues early on but they got straightened out pretty quickly.

The local DFL also requested that the candidates all fill out a questionnaire with some detailed questions about their beliefs and policy ideas. Everyone other than Mohamed Barre completed the questionnaire, and you can find their answers on the Senate District 60 DFL site.

(Am I going to write about the Democratic presidential primary? Of course. But I’m waiting until after New Hampshire votes to write about it. Our primary — we have a primary this year! — will be held on Super Tuesday, March 3rd.)

By the way, my new book is NOW OUT.  Catfishing on CatNet, which is a near-future young adult thriller, got stars from both Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. It is widely available at various local independent bookstores, and Uncle Hugo’s will let you order a signed copy. If you’re looking at this on December 12th, 13th, or 14th, you might find it useful to know that I’ll be doing an event (reading and then signing) at Dreamhaven Books, 2301 E. 38th St. Minneapolis, MN 55407, on Saturday, December 14th, 2-3 p.m. (If you’re seeing this after the 14th, you can probably also order a signed copy from Dreamhaven.)

Gifts for People You Hate, 2019

Earlier this month, Captain Awkward had a letter from someone whose crappy sister and brother-in-law was giving her deliberately bad gifts. Not in a “let’s exchange gag gifts” kind of way, either, they gave her a bunch of obviously used DVDs for shows she’s not interested in for her birthday

I actually clicked on that with real trepidation — worried that this might be someone who had clearly read my suggestions and implemented them but for a perfectly nice person (the sort of person who reads Captain Awkward!) Fortunately for my own peace of mind, it was clearly someone who was adhering more to the “open declaration of war” approach. These were not subtly bad gifts.

But just to be clear: please do not use these suggestions to bully perfectly nice people instead of having an adult conversation that goes, “hey, can we just agree not to exchange gifts among adults? I would love to get together for the dinner and skip the present-opening, could we maybe all make a donation toward [some mutually agreeable cause]?”

No, this is a guide for people who have to buy a gift for the sister-in-law who refuses to make any vegetarian/gluten free/edible-to-you food at the big family Christmas dinner other than carrot sticks. Or for those who need a present for one of those Theoretically-Optional-But-Actually-Totally-Mandatory office events, and you drew the name of that person who puts microwave popcorn in the office microwave, enters the 4 and a half minutes the packages always claim it’s going to take, and then nips off to the bathroom. Or maybe you’re Tiffany Trump and shopping for your father. There are, let’s be honest, people who deserve bad presents.

Annual disclaimer: I don’t have to give gifts to anyone I don’t like; this list was inspired by the traumas of friends. If I’ve ever given you a gift that was terrible, it was genuine cluelessness on my part and I really was trying to get you a present you’d like. (This sort of cluelessness is super common, and provides everyone else with crucial plausible deniability when choosing gifts inspired by this list.) Also, if you give me presents, I promise I am not scrutinizing them for signs that you secretly hate me; I’m thinking “oh wow, a PRESENT.”

ON TO THE LIST.

Continue reading

Upcoming Book-Related Events

My new book, CATFISHING ON CATNET, is coming out on November 19th, which is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I have several related upcoming events that local people (and even non-local-people) might be interested in.

Thursday, November 21st, 7-8 p.m. – Sci-Fi Night at Magers & Quinn with Sue Burke, Naomi Kritzer, and Marissa Lingen 

Sue Burke will be reading from her book INTERFERENCE, in which we’ve met intelligent aliens and they are plants. Marissa Lingen will be reading a short story about genetically-engineered modern-day mastodons. I will be reading from CATFISHING ON CATNET. We’ll do some Q&A, and we’ll be happy to sign your copies of our work. It will be fun! Magers & Quinn is at 3038 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

Find out more about this event at the Magers & Quinn Events page.

Friday, November 22nd, 7-8:30 p.m. – The Loft Presents If: Catfishing on Catnet: Naomi Kritzer with Kelly Barnhill

img_20190826_090539_521

Kelly Barnhill is a Newbery-medal-winning author of middle grade fiction and also a friend of mine. We’re going to sit on a stage and chat about books, writing, Internet privacy, online friendship, and any other topics that strike our fancy (if you’d like to come and have any topics you’re itching to have us cover, leave a comment or send me an e-mail?) There will also be a SLIDE SHOW OF CAT PICTURES, so if we get boring, you can just stare at the cat pictures and think “awwwwwwwwwww!” (Cat pictured: a random very friendly cat we met in Iceland.)

This is a ticketed event. Tickets are available from the Loft website.  The event will be at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and we will be happy to sign things.

Saturday, November 23rd, 1-2 p.m. – Signing at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Books.

This is just a signing, but — note, out-of-town readers! — you can put in an order for the book at Uncle Hugo’s, let them know how you want it signed (like, do you want it signed to Jane Smith or do you just want a signature), and they’ll have me sign it while I’m there and then they’ll ship it to you. (You can do the same with any of my other books and even some of the magazines with my work — here’s the order page.)

You can feel free to show up with anything you want signed — Uncle Hugo’s doesn’t have a policy of “only books bought HERE, TODAY.” (If you bring a stack of stuff bought from Amazon, and feel a twinge of guilt, I would encourage you to expiate your guilt by buying some additional items from their store while you’re there. They have a fantastic selection of new and used, they have signed copies from many fine local authors, and they are under one roof with Uncle Edgar’s, which sells mystery.)

Uncle Hugo’s is at 2864 Chicago Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55407. If you’d prefer to place your order over the phone, you can call them at 612-824-6347.

If you’re looking at these events and feeling stymied about which one to go to, here’s a quick guide:

  • If you want to hear me read from my work (along with Sue Burke and Marissa Lingen), go to Magers & Quinn on November 21st at 7 p.m.
  • If you want to hear me talk about my work (along with Kelly Barnhill), go to the Loft at Open Book on November 22nd at 7 p.m. (But don’t forget it’s a ticketed event. You can buy a ticket here.)
  • If you really aren’t interested in hearing me say anything in particular but would like a signed copy, go to Uncle Hugo’s on November 23rd at 1 p.m.
  • If you want a signed copy but prefer not to leave your house (or, you know, if you live somewhere far from Minneapolis), go to the Uncle Hugo’s website and put in an order for a signed copy.

I got my box of books last week so I now have beautiful hardcover copies of my book, and I am so excited for this book to be out in the world! It’s gotten starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly (which called it “an entertaining, heart-filled exploration of today’s online existence and privacy concerns”) and from Kirkus (which called it “wickedly funny and thrilling in turns”) and I’m so excited for anyone who’s enjoyed my other novels, my short stories, or my political blogging to have a chance to read it.

 

Election 2019: Ballot Roundup

First things first — if you’re here from Minneapolis, as far as I know, you have NO ELECTIONS THIS YEAR. If you want to be sure, check the Secretary of State site — it’s not absolutely impossible that there’s a special election somewhere that I missed. But you had city races in 2017, and will have another set in 2021, and so far as I know you get this year off. Before you go, though, I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT and I’m doing a fundraiser for a group of Minneapolis fifth graders to go to Wolf Ridge nature center.

On to Saint Paul! Here’s my sample ballot.

City Question 1: Referendum on whether Ordinance ORD 18-39 should remain in effect.

YES

Analysis on the trash hauling referendum here.

Council Member Ward 1

  1. Liz De La Torre
  2. Anika Bowie
  3. Dai Thao

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 2

  1. Rebecca Noecker
  2. Bill Hosko

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 3

  1. Chris Tolbert

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 4

  1. Mitra Jalali Nelson
  2. Tarrence Robertson-Bayless

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 5

  1. Amy Brendmoen
  2. Suyapa Miranda
  3. Bob Blake

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 6

  1. Terri Thao
  2. Nelsie Yang
  3. Danielle Swift

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 7

  1. Jane Prince
  2. Mary Anne Quiroz

Analysis here.

Saint Paul School Board

(You don’t get to rank these, you just pick four.)

  • Zuki Ellis
  • Steve Marchese
  • Chauntyll Allen
  • Jessica Kopp

Analysis here.

816WkzoELELDid I mention that I have a book coming out on November 19th? If you would like to pre-order it, you can do that on the usual big behemoth sites OR you can preorder from Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore — which will allow you to get a signed copy even if you’re not local. I will be signing at Uncle Hugo’s on November 23rd if you’d like to come get your copy signed in person, and I will also be doing an event with fellow authors Sue Burke and Marissa Lingen at Magers & Quinn on November 21st, and I will be doing an “authors in conversation” event at the Loft on November 22nd with Newbery Medalist and South Minneapolis author Kelly Barnhill.

Also, it has warmed my heart immensely to see people donating to the fundraiser to send this year’s class of 5th graders at Richard Green Central Park school in Minneapolis to Wolf Ridge environmental center. Last year, partly in response to some of the issues that came up in the Minneapolis school board race, I suggested that my readers donate to teacher projects at some of the schools in Minneapolis that lacked the inherent PTA fundraising prowess of the schools in Southwest Minneapolis. Many of my readers donated, and they raised enough money that they were able to make the trip. I would be delighted if my readers could help this year’s class to go as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Election 2019: St. Paul City Council, Ward 7

We’ve made it to the last ward! I think (unless there’s a special election somewhere I’ve overlooked) that this is a wrap, the last of the elections in Minneapolis (which has 0 elections) and St. Paul (which has the City Council, the school board, and the trash referendum.) If you’re reading from the suburbs wondering when I’m going to do your town — I confine my analysis to the city limits of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. (I talked a little bit about why in my 2014 post about my complete lack of qualifications to be an authority on political races.)

Here’s who’s running in Ward 7:

Kartumu King
Jane Prince
Mary Anne Quiroz
David Thom

CONTENT NOTE: Kartumu King’s writeup includes discussion of child abuse.

Continue reading