Primary Elections 2022: Sample Ballot (with links)

Here’s a roundup of all my posts about the primaries! Don’t forget to vote tomorrow!

Governor: Tim Walz

Attorney General: Keith Ellison

Secretary of State: Steve Simon

US House 04: Betty McCollum

US House 05: Ilhan Omar, and please, please, please do not make me endorse Don Samuels in the general because I’ll do it if I have to (I would endorse three squirrels in a trench coat carrying a DFL sign before I’d suggest sending a Republican to congress) but I would really prefer Ilhan.

Minneapolis School Board At-Large: Kerryjo Felder and Sonya Emerick in the primary, may opt differently in the general as I also like Collin Beachy.

Minneapolis School Board District 5:  Laurelle Myhra in the primary, may opt differently in the general as I also like Lori Norvell.

Hennepin County Attorney: Mary Moriarty

Hennepin County Sheriff: Dawanna Witt

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners District 5: Rafael Ortega

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners District 6: Mai Chong Xiong

Senate District 62: Shaun Laden

Senate District 63: Zaynab Mohamed

Senate District 65: Undecided. (Sheigh Freeberg / Sandy Pappas)

House District 62A: Aisha Gomez

House District 62B: Hodan Hassan

House District 65B: María Isa Pérez-Hedges

House District 66A: Leigh Finke

House District 67A: Liz Lee


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. If you’re coming to this late and those are funded, here’s a project from a teacher at Lucy Craft Laney to buy iPads and Osmo stations to offer online learning games to her students.

Primary Elections 2022: Minnesota Senate 65

Long-time State Senator Sandy Pappas is running for re-election. Two other people are on the ballot, but only one is seriously campaigning.

Sandy Pappas
Zuki Ellis
Sheigh Freeberg

Zuki Ellis has a website and remains on the ballot, but seems to have largely stopped campaigning — she’s not responding to interview requests or returning questionnaires. I’m treating this as a race between Sandy and Sheigh.

Two years ago, I looked at Sandy vs. a long-shot challenge from Laverne Knighton, and commented on the fact that Sandy had been in the legislature since the 1980s and her website highlighted the fact that she’d authored the first legislation to allow growlers to be sold in brewpubs. Sandy either took that criticism to heart or was just a lot more nervous this year, because her website is much improved. For each category she talks about her “vision,” her “values,” and her “victories,” which is a good framework for someone who’s been in the legislature for decades but has been in the minority party for a lot of the time.

Sheigh Freeberg is a union organizer. He first got into politics as part of the “recall Walker” fight in Wisconsin, burned out on that, then got into union organizing and has been there for most of the last decade.

The Minnesota Reformer ran an article on Sandy vs. Sheigh that’s worth reading. They describe Sandy as a “reliable workhorse for abortion rights, workers’ rights and reforming the criminal justice system.” Sheigh makes the case that Sandy “isn’t showing up where and when her constituents need her” — that she casts votes and goes home.

“Where are people showing up, in the sense of their physical presence” is an interesting question that can at least partly be answer by their Facebook pages. Sandy’s campaign page is here and her Senator page is here. Sheigh’s campaign page is here. In the last couple of months, both talked about going to National Night Out events; Sheigh picketed with the Nurse’s union; Sandy went to an abortion rights rally; Sheigh went to a different (I think) abortion rights rally (and also this one, in June); Sandy went to a “Safe Summer Nights” event; Sheigh went to a health care for all event. “Sandy doesn’t show up for stuff” was actually one of the points raised by Laverne two years ago: Laverne noted that “in the almost 25 years she’d lived in this district, she had met Sandy maybe twice. Her church has held forums and invited Sandy and Sandy has never come.” (Sandy is Jewish but “please come to an event to meet our members, who are your constituents” is a reasonable request to make across religious lines, IMO.) Laverne worked for a domestic violence shelter for years and was the area director for the United Negro College Fund, and these both seem like roles where, if you don’t feel like you know your state legislator, that’s not a great sign that your legislator is trying to meet people they should be trying to meet.

I’ll also note — I have absolutely been known to get stuff entirely wrong. Sometimes when I say, “this long-time legislator seems to be out of touch?” I get an avalanche of replies on Twitter or in the comments section from people who want to let me know about how that particular legislator helped them or helped their organization. This didn’t happen with Sandy, at least not in 2020, although possibly the Twitter share feature wasn’t working because I can’t find my own Tweet with that post, weirdly. (One final note about the 2020 race — one of her constituents sent her an e-mail asking her for her position on a bunch of things and got a message back from Sandy typing on her iPhone that said, “who are you and why are you asking for my positions [on] such a wide range of issues?” Which I still find kind of hilariously hostile (and also startling, because usually when you send a politician a long list of questions, they just don’t answer you at all.)

Sandy did respond to the questionnaire from the West Saint Paul Reader. Sandy’s new district includes a chunk of West Saint Paul, which is a separate city (and was genuinely horrified to see that a bunch of them had been grouped with Saint Paul for their Senate District, judging from some of the comments in their town’s Facebook group.) One of the questions they asked all the candidates was, “What differences do you see between West St. Paul and the rest of the district? How will you address the needs and concerns of West St. Paul residents?

Sheigh’s reply:

West Saint Paul is its own unique city with its own unique values. Many of them are working class that value fair pay for fair work. Expanding issues statewide like increasing the minimum wage, stabilizing rent, and making healthcare affordable will help working people and their families in WSP. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that they are part of Dakota county and the leadership now needs to work with local governments from both districts to help build the community. 

Sandy’s reply:

I see many similarities. Many WSP folks grew up or lived in St Paul prior to before moving to West St Paul. I see there are also many citizen activists in both cities.

One difference is that WSP is a small city, a close knit community with its own traditions and celebrations. St Paul has some of that too but more in its various neighborhoods.

I will be an active supporter and advocate for the needs of WSP. I’ve already met with city officials and council members to get updates. And I’m hearing from residents as I go door to door.

I’ll be honest: Sheigh’s answer strikes me as a lot better. Poking through the WSP Facebook group I was pretty struck by how many people assume they’re going to be an afterthought for their rep, and Sandy’s answer here wouldn’t really alleviate that.

Sandy also made a huge misstep this year with a postcard claiming endorsement from a bunch of people — mainly from West Saint Paul — who had not endorsed her. From the article: “Many of them were delegates and supported me at the convention,” Pappas said. “They’re all DFLers, I made the assumption that they were supporting me, and it’s true, I neglected to get that in writing.” Further down she said, “The conversation was, ‘Will you do a photo with me?’ And in some cases, like with Julie, we sat down and had coffee together and did a photo,” Pappas said. “I will have to ask them what did they think I was going to do with that photo? But you’re totally right, by the letter of the law I did not get a written endorsement from them.”

I’m going to say, if a long-time Minneapolis politician said “what did they think I was going to do with that photo?” there’d be “whatever you do, don’t hold still next to [politician] or you’ll find out two months later you’ve endorsed them” jokes on Twitter forEVer.

But OK: let’s go back to the Minnesota Reformer article for a minute. In the article, Sandy says pretty straight out that she’s running because she really (really really) wants one more term where she’s part of the majority. “What if the DFL doesn’t take the Senate?” gets asked and she groans and says “Move to Canada? I don’t know” and admits she probably wouldn’t have run if she hadn’t thought the DFL was going to take back the Senate. Sheigh, meanwhile, got asked about this and “said his organizing skills will help get his agenda passed” (which is a standard line from Democrats but has not worked in a while).

Asked by the West St. Paul Reader for their top issues, Sheigh listed affordable housing, fully funding education, and universal healthcare; Sandy listed a robust bonding bill “that supports the essential infrastructure needs of our state and our communities: clean water, transit, roads, parks, affordable housing,” paid sick and safe time (a project she’s been working on for years), and a pension plan for low-wage workers. Sheigh’s sound more aspirational; Sandy’s are more directly related to the specific things she’s been working on and has power over. (She’s the ranking minority member on the Capital Investment committee, and will have a ton of power to allocate money for projects if the Democrats take back the Senate. I’ll note that she does talk about Education on her “Vision and Values” page.)

Anyway. I like Sheigh a lot; he’s a regular on Twitter who consistently speaks up against sexist bullshit (which is nice, because it’s a lot safer for men on Twitter to do that than for women to do so). I appreciate his energy, his organizing skill, his commitment to showing up even when he’s not the one in front of a mic. The surge of interest in unions and unionization over the last year could be very good for the Democrats in general — Sandy has, historically, been extremely good on labor issues but she was not, you know, actually out there organizing people two weeks ago.

I also appreciate Sandy’s long-standing reliable votes on a bunch of issues I care about, and the position of power she stands to gain if the DFL takes the Senate. Sandy is 73 years old; I suspect that if she wins this time, she’ll retire before the next election. We also lost a shocking number of women from the State Senate this year because redistricting paired them with men. I am hesitant to replace yet another woman with a man, even though I like the man.

This is one of those races that comes down to, “if I lived in the district, I would probably have a stronger sense of what Sandy is like as a representative, and that would inform my vote.” If I lived in West Saint Paul, and Sheigh had doorknocked me and Sandy hadn’t, I would probably vote for Sheigh. If I’d had Sandy as my rep for years and she’d responded promptly and helpfully to my e-mails complaining about stuff, I would probably vote for Sandy. (If I thought the Republicans were going to hold their State Senate majority, I’d probably vote for Sheigh. I probably should expect the Republicans to hold their State Senate majority but I’m always an optimist.)

So, I don’t have a solid call on this race, and the election is tomorrow, but hopefully there’s enough information here to help the people in SD 65 clarify their own decision-making process.

ETA: Someone left the following comment: “I lived in Sandy Pappas’s district for ten years, and I never got the impression she was doing much of anything. I’m sure she was voting and otherwise showing up for work, but she never bothered to campaign in any way I really noticed, and her email newsletter was anodyne to say the least. (The one I remember best was when lieutenant governor Tina Smith got appointed to the US Senate, and the state senate president automatically got promoted to LG; Sandy for some reason sent out a newsletter reflecting that would have been her if it had happened a few years earlier when she was senate president.) Her recorded convention speech for the digital DFL convention in 2020 was of her sitting on a folding chair and reading off some printed remarks about how we couldn’t expect to accomplish anything that session. I guess the labor movement considers her a champion, but to my eye as a constituent she always seemed like just a longtime incumbent who stuck around because she could.” If that’s your experience of Sandy: absolutely positively vote for Sheigh.


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 House 66A

This is an open seat and two people are running in the primary:

Leigh Finke
Dave Thomas

Leigh Finke is a writer, editor, and documentary maker who is (correction: not endorsed by the DFL because the convention deadlocked, but the person opposing her at the convention dropped out) endorsed by everyone but the DFL, including just about all the area political figures (certainly everyone who’s endorsed in the race). Dave Thomas is a Civics teacher and veteran with zero endorsements. (He ran for US House in 2014 as an Independence Party candidate and you can read what I said about him at the time.)

Dave’s stances this time include term limits, a campaign finance rule that says candidates can only accept donations from people who live in their district, and he wants all police killings to result in a trial by jury. He wants to remove Minnesota from the federal student loan program and he thinks tuition should be charged on a sliding scale relative to expected earnings, so it’s cheaper to get a Philosophy degree than a Computer Science degree. (The consistent thing about his stances in 2014 and now is that several, if actually implemented, would result in a truly amazing set of unintended consequences.)

I would vote for Leigh.


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: MN House 67A

John Thompson is the incumbent; he’s being challenged by Liz Lee, who has the DFL endorsement.

John Thompson (Incumbent)
Liz Lee (DFL-endorsed)

John Thompson was elected in 2020. In July of 2021, he got pulled over, told the cop that he was a state legislator, and produced a Wisconsin driver’s license. He turned out to have maintained a Wisconsin license for years, renewing it in 2005, 2012 and 2020, despite living in Minnesota. (Maintaining a driver’s license in another state is in the category of things I don’t care about people doing most of the time, but you really should not be doing as a state legislator, what the hell.)

In the wake of that, journalists went digging around in his background and turned up four really dramatic and detailed domestic violence allegations and arrests between 2003 and 2010. That same article mentions a disorderly conduct arrest for something that happened at a hospital (“Thompson is currently on trial in Hennepin County for a disorderly conduct case that stemmed from a visit to North Memorial Hospital, where Thompson and others were asked to leave.”) I had actually missed this one — it involved a confrontation at a hospital in 2019, and can I just say, there’s something deeply fucked up about the fact that that incident resulted in charges and a trial when after a previous arrest and “disorderly conduct” conviction for assaulting a girlfriend, she reported to police that he’d broken the phone cord, choked her with his hands, grabbed her and dragged her back inside when she ran away, punched her in the face, and threw her into a table, all in front of her children — that was “referred to child protection and the Dakota County Attorney” and that seems to have been the end of it. Well, also, the police took the woman to a battered women’s shelter.

In September of 2021, the DFL kicked him out of their caucus.

In March of 2022, he did an interview with the Minnesota Reformer, where he talked about the protest outside (police union rep) Bob Kroll’s house at which there were piñatas of Kroll and his wife (journalist Liz Collins) that got beaten with sticks, and how he regrets that.

In April of 2022, his daughter got pulled over by the police for suspected DUI and Thompson came to the scene to scream at the officers. This is based on what Axtell (the St. Paul Chief of Police) said but Axtell basically dared Thompson to release the bodycam footage and Thompson did not do so. (“I wish state law allowed us to release the body worn camera footage. But we can’t at this time. However, Rep. Thompson or his daughter can. And I encourage them to do so.”) (I have some sympathy for a Black man who wants to get to the scene where his daughter has been arrested. I’m less sympathetic to people who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. The whole situation sounds messy and like Thompson’s intervention escalated things.)

I was curious if anyone had endorsed Thompson this time and checked out his website and was initially very startled to see Hodan Hassan’s name and then realized he’d never updated it after 2020. So all his old endorsements are still listed as if they’re current. I don’t think he has any endorsements.

Liz Lee looks like a nice, normal Democrat. I would absolutely vote for Liz Lee.


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: MN House 62A and 62B

I am running out of both time and steam but I wanted to hit these two races very quickly (even though Hodan Hasan is unopposed) because thanks to redistricting, this is extra confusing.

Hodan Hasan and Aisha Gomez are trading districts. Hodan Hasan represents 62A, but is running for re-election in 62B, and Aisha Gomez represents 62B but is running for re-election in 62A. This has thrown a lot of people for a loop (and it doesn’t help that Hodan Hasan’s campaign website still says 62A — she’s unopposed in the primary, so I’m guessing updating her campaign website has not been a priority.)

If you live in 62B, Hodan Hasan will appear on the ballot, but she’s unopposed.

If you live in 62A, your ballot will have the following two candidates:

Aisha Gomez (Incumbent, DFL-endorsed)
Osman Ahmed

I would vote for Aisha Gomez. Osman Ahmed is endorsed by Jamal Osman, who’s not one of my favorite local politicians, and by Andrea Jenkins. Aisha Gomez is endorsed by basically everyone else. Also, Osman Ahmed has the same treasurer as Don Samuels, which is not a good sign. (ETA: I asked if there was a way to look this up and there is! Don Samuels’ campaign filings; Osman Ahmed’s campaign filings.)

One of her constituents chimed in on the Twitter thread about this:

And that seems to be a pretty common sentiment: that she’s authentic, a good listener, and a good legislator. I would vote for Aisha if I lived in 62A (and for Hodan if I lived in 62B) and I hope they’re both re-elected.


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 04

Betty McCollum has a more serious opponent this year than she usually does. On the DFL side of the ballot:

Amane Badhasso
Fasil Moghul
Betty McCollum (DFL-endorsed, incumbent)

The real race here is Amane vs. Betty, but let me take a minute before I dive into that to tell you about Fasil Moghul. His most distinctive position is that he wants a whole lot more war. Way more war.

His Issues page calls for direct military airstrikes on North Korean military installations (“The human rights violations against the great people of North Korea must stop”), direct military airstrikes on Venezuelan military installations (“The human rights violations against the great people of Venezuela must stop”), direct military airstrikes on Syrian military installations (” The human rights violations against the great people of Syria must stop”) and the immediately after that there’s an entry for “Pakistan-India” and I thought holy shit which one does he want to bomb but that one says, “Our hope is to increase B2B (Business to Business) relationships between our country and Pakistan-India. We would also like to see a rise of tech-workers from both countries to help alleviate labor shortages.”

He appears to have no campaign beyond this website. Anyway, I do not recommend voting for him unless you, also, would list “MORE WAR” as a top foreign policy priority.

The actual contest here is between incumbent Betty McCollum and immigrant and organizer Amane Badhasso.

Amane has attacked Betty on a couple of specific points:

  • Betty takes donations from defense-industry lobbyists and other lobbists, while Amane takes zero money from any such groups.
  • She chairs the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee
  • According to Amane, she’s ineffective. (In that article about the race, Amane is quoted as saying, “The main reason why we need a new generation of Democrats and folks who are not beholden to special interests is because we’ve observed time and time again why important legislation that should be supported on behalf of working class families dies. It dies because we send folks like Betty McCollum to Congress.”
  • According to Amane, Betty doesn’t get votes out as well as she should.

“I, unlike my opponent, am pure” is an easy claim to make about fundraising when you’re an underdog challenging a popular incumbent in the primary: you’re not going to be offered any donations that might compromise you.

I think the claim that legislation dies because of people like Betty McCollum is absurd on its face; legislation dies because of Republicans and the actual conservative Democrats, of which there are many. Betty is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. There are 435 people in the US House and Betty is not on the “this is why we can’t have nice things” list and the idea that a new person with no seniority is going to be able to get us the stuff Betty hasn’t is not a claim that holds water.

The piece here that I really dove into was the claim about getting out the vote. Someone on Twitter linked me to this site with an interactive map. In 2018, turnout in 04 was 64.3% with a margin of error of plus or minus .6%. In 05 it was 66.4% with a margin of error of plus or minus .8%. This is not a huge difference. (Turnout in 02 and 03 was extremely high but they had competitive congressional races; this is why it’s important for the reps in 04 and 05 to work on turnout regardless. But clearly both Ilhan and Betty are putting in the effort here!)

I like Amane, but replacing a representative comes with a cost for the district that does it, because of the emphasis on seniority in both the House and the Senate. People who’ve served for decades get better committee assignments and more power, which Betty has used to further progressive goals — which does not mean she’s gotten us Medicare for All or all the many other things I would like us to have, because other people in Congress have stood in the way, but has meant things like, “she directed a bunch of defense funding toward cancer research and sexual assault prevention.” (I highlighted those two because they were accomplishments that were much more under her control because she’s the chair of the Defense Subcommittee. She’s also voted the right away on all the things you’ve probably heard of, some of which then stalled out but some of which passed the Senate.) My sense broadly is that a huge amount of St. Paul isn’t even aware that Betty has an opponent, which makes it hard for me to buy the idea that Amane will be better at turning out the vote.

I am planning to vote for Betty McCollum. If you want a younger rep (someone on Twitter said they’re voting for Amane because Betty, who was elected in 2000, has been in office longer than they’ve been alive) then absolutely go ahead and vote for Amane; if you want to send Betty a message that it’s time to start thinking about retirement, go ahead and vote for Amane. (I think “send a message” voting is risky when the opponent is awful, but Amane strikes me as fine, so the risk here is low.)

I got asked by someone who’s confident in the outcome on the DFL side of the ticket whether there’s a Republican running in the primary who’s not a seditionist, which is an interesting question and surprisingly hard to answer. Here’s who’s on the ticket:

Gene Rechtzigel
Jerry Silver
May Lor Xiong (GOP-endorsed)

Gene was the nominee last time, when the City Pages called him a “good old-fashioned solitary crank.” He remains an old-fashioned crank, complete with a website that is both incoherent and illegible. He doesn’t say anything about elections, but was a party in a lawsuit in November 2020 to block election certification.

Jerry Silver is a retired pastor who wrote a book about fighting his congregation to admit a Black student to the private school affiliated with his church — this happened in the 1990s in Illinois. His Priorities page calls for Voter ID, “opposes lawsuits against states that exercise their rights to keep their elections honest,” opposes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and supports a proposal for states to “award their electoral votes along Congressional district lines with the state popular vote winner gaining the two at-large votes.” In other words, he wants to make the effects of gerrymandering worse, and disenfranchise Democrats wherever possible. Regarding Trump’s big lie, and the insurrection on January 6th, I couldn’t find him saying anything at all.

May Lor Xiong is the endorsed Republican candidate. Her Issues page does not mention elections at all and she has ignored people asking for her stance on this on Twitter and Facebook. Her social media is all pretty scrubbed, but I did find her Twitter “likes” to be a little more revealing. She liked a May 11th tweet fron right-wing “comedian” Tim Young saying “81 million votes… and I’ve never seen a Biden hat or shirt in my life.” Also a lot of anti-vax and anti-mask stuff and anti-abortion extremists being smug about the overturn of Roe. So my strong suspicion is that she’s trying to keep her pro-Trump pro-sedition views out of sight as much as possible, but certainly holds them.

May is campaigning heavily on “border security” and made a field trip down to Texas to talk about how we need to finish the wall. Note that she is herself an immigrant who arrived as a refugee at age eight, and she makes a big deal about how her family did this “properly” by applying and waiting and so on. But she also tells a (pretty vivid) story in a video on her website about her mother swimming the Mekong River to escape Laos and get to Thailand — in other words, her parents fled where they were living. Let me be very clear: I 100% endorse their right to do this and I’m glad they did and I’m glad the US (eventually) did the right thing and admitted Hmong families like hers. But refugees fleeing danger and oppression today should also be allowed in.

Anyway. I e-mailed all three candidates and asked them two questions: Do you believe that the Presidential election in 2020 was legitimate? and Would you have voted to uphold or overturn the results? ETA: Jerry Silver, who I was optimistic might not be an insurrectionist, wrote back and said, “Have you watched the film 2000 Mules?” When I said no he said I should watch it and “then we can discuss.” Needless to say, I am not going to pay $20 to watch noted liar Dinesh D’Souza’s conspiracy theorymongering bullshit, but I think he’s told me what I need to know.

Gene demonstrated his seditionist views by signing onto a lawsuit in 2020. Honestly, I find it weird that Jerry’s not being louder about his seditionist views, since that would give him a shot at getting the Trumper votes that May’s leaving on the table by saying the quiet parts quiet. So the answer here is, they’re all terrible; Gene is probably the most chaotic choice, although if May wins the primary, that’ll give the GOP some hope of winning and they’ll pour a lot of money into the race. I’m not sure there’s a lesser evil here. You should absolutely vote for the Democrat in November! Either Amane or Betty will be vastly better than any of the Republicans on the ticket.


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.

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 6

This is an open seat and a bunch of people are running, some more seriously than others.

Greg Copeland
Foua-Choua Khang
Clara O. Ware
Dino Guerin
Nick Muhammad
Ying Vang-Pao
Mai Chong Xiong (DFL-endorsed)

Greg Copeland

Greg Copeland is a Republican from the “let me tell you how much I love guns” wing of the party. He filed in Ward 6 because he was in Ward 6 before redistricting, and was dismayed to find out that he now lives in Ward 3. Given this, he would have preferred to run in Ward 3, and has no interest in moving (especially as he’s not going to win). Anyway, don’t vote for him.

Foua-Choua Khang

Foua-Choua Khang’s website was so hard to find, I didn’t run across it until I was researching Dino Guerin and turned it up in a Yahoo News article about the candidates. She works for Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a “Community and County Liaison,” which seems like a relevant position, and she’s worked on health disparities (specifically diabetes) in the Hmong community. She did respond to the East Metro Voter Guide questionnaire and I liked some of her answers: it’s a very business-centric questionnaire but in response to a question about what “employment-related proposals” she’d support and whether she understands that sick time rules are extremely inconvenient for employers (“What steps would you take to understand the impact of a policy on the many types of businesses in Ramsey County and how would you define any exceptions to those policies?”) she notes that her 16-year-old son was required to return to work making sandwiches before his quarantine was finished.

But she has no endorsements and doesn’t seem to be running a particularly active campaign. She looks like she’d probably be good in a lot of jobs, but I would not vote for her.

Clara O. Ware

Clara Ware’s campaign website is a Facebook page that was last updated in March to say that a fundraiser had been cancelled. You can read her responses to the East Metro Voter Guide here. Again, she looks like someone who’d probably be good in a lot of jobs, but I would not vote for her.

Dino Guerin

Dino Guerin was a City Council rep and a County Commissioner back in the 1990s, then crashed and burned with a criminal conviction over bad checks due to gambling debts in 2000. He opted for jail time over a conviction that would keep him from running again, and he’s been trying to make a political comeback on a regular basis ever since. His lone endorsement is Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who I don’t like, and his top issue is crime. I would not vote for Dino.

Nick Muhammad

Nick Muhammed runs a group called Black Civic Network. He has no endorsements listed on his website although this article about the six candidates lists Black Women Rising as an endorsement.

His website uses the term ADOS a lot. This stands for “American Descendent of Slavery,” and it’s a controversial term within the group it purports to describe, since it deliberately separates Black people whose ancestors were brought specifically to the US or future US and sold into slavery from Black people who came here as immigrants (some of whom are also descended from kidnapping victims, especially if they came from the Caribbean.) The Wiki article has a roundup.

Ying Vang-Pao

Ying Vang-Pao and Mai Chong Xiong are the two candidates I think are solid, qualified, and I might want to vote for. Ying Vang-Pao is a daughter of General Vang Pao, a major figure in the Hmong community until his death in 2011. (He had about 25 kids, I discovered as I tried to figure out a comparison to “daughter of General Vang Pao” that non-Hmong readers would grasp, and basically failed.) Ying is endorsed by retiring County Commissioner Jim McDonough along with a number of other notable local political figures. Her background includes political activism, volunteer work, and working with county resources to get needed help for her disabled child. She lists her top three issues as affordable housing, the environment, and public safety.

Mai Chong Xiong (DFL-endorsed)

Mai Chong Xiong is endorsed by the DFL and a wide range of other groups and individuals (most striking to me is that she’s endorsed by both the DSA and by Council Member Jane Prince — typically endorsements tend to sort themselves out by “this person got the lefties, that person got the centrists,” that’s not the case here.) Her background includes working as Council Member Dai Thao’s legislative aide. She lists her top three issues as affordable housing, the environment, and living wage jobs.

I am running out of time because the primary is TUESDAY. I think odds are really high it’ll be Mai Chong Xiong vs. Ying Vang-Pao in the general election and they both look like strong candidates. If I were voting in this race, I think I would cast my ballot for Mai Chong, although when the general rolls around I might take a closer look at Ying. I like the fact that Mai Chong has experience as a legislative assistant (that can be very helpful in terms of knowing how you get things done) and has such a wide range of endorsements (that suggests that a lot of people just think she’d be good at the job.)


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 Election 2022: Ramsey County Commissioner, District 5

Rafael Ortega is the incumbent and has two opponents, neither of whom I imagine he’s worried about. Two people will advance.

Rafael E. Ortega (incumbent, DFL-endorsed)
Bill Hosko
Charles S. Barklind

Charles Barklind

The most detailed information on Charles Barklind still seems to be my writeup from 2014. He doesn’t appear to have responded to the questionnaire from the East Metro Voter Guide. Once again, this does not appear to be someone who’s actually running for office.

Bill Hosko

Bill Hosko is a perennial candidate. In 2015 he ran for Ward 2 City Council on a “no parking meters” platform; in 2019 he ran for Ward 2 City Council on a “we should spend millions of dollars to install turnstiles for the light rail, and also bring back fireworks, and also lower taxes” platform; and in 2021 he ran for Mayor on a “build turnstiles, crack down on shoplifting and shame Mayor Carter for having weeds in his yard” platform.

His platform this year seems to be “crime is bad and we should do something about it, lower taxes, make a plan for the old West Publishing site, create railway attractions at Union Station so it stops losing money, and bring back Grand Old Day, Taste of Minnesota, Fourth of July Fireworks, and Cinco de Mayo.” Also he still wants turnstiles. You can read his East Metro Voter Guide responses here.

Rafael E. Ortega

Rafael Ortega is doing fine. My complaints about county-level stuff in Ramsey County are all things that are not overseen by the county board. Also, his opponents are cranks. You can read his East Metro Voter Guide responses here.

I will be voting for Rafael Ortega and if you live in my district I’d encourage you to do the same!


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 Election 2022: Minnesota Senate District 62

Two years ago, Omar Fateh beat long-time incumbent Jeff Hayden in an upset in the primary (and coasted to victory in the general — the real contest for a Minneapolis legislative seat is almost always in the primary). Here’s my post from two years ago; I endorsed Fateh. To quickly recap: Hayden had been in that seat for quite a while, had been implicated in a small scale financial scandal, and Fateh had done a terrific job organizing and door knocking.

This year, Fateh has an opponent:

Omar Fateh (DFL-endorsed, incumbent)
Shaun Laden

(Cut for length.)

Continue reading

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.