Elections 2022: All the State House Races in Minneapolis and Saint Paul

I’m going to knock these out as fast as I can using this helpful post from MinnPost to identify the people running.

House District 59A

Fue Lee is unopposed.

House District 59B

Esther Agbaje is unopposed.

House District 60A

DFL incumbent Sydney Jordan is running against Republican Diana Halsey. Diana Halsey doesn’t have a website; she does appear to have a personal Facebook page that shows her to be an anti-abortion, low-key-racist Boomer who likes to repeat implausible horror stories about Democrats. Her (wide-open) Facebook page includes pictures of her at anti-lockdown protests, anti-Walz protests, anti-abortion protests, and the Republican State Convention, but does not appear to mention anywhere that she’s running for office. Sydney Jordan is fine and I would vote for her.

House District 60B

Mohamud Noor is running unopposed.

House District 61A

Frank Hornstein is running unopposed.

House District 61B

Jamie Long is running unopposed.

House District 62A

Aisha Gomez is running unopposed. (She and Hodan Hassan swapped districts, which is confusing. She’s currently serving in 62B, but is running in 62A due to redistricting.)

House District 62B

DFL incumbent Hodan Hassan is running against Republican Taylor Hammond. (She and Aisha Gomez switched districts, which is confusing. She’s currently serving in 62A, but is running in 62B due to redistricting, and as of 10/17, is still using a website that says she’s running in 62A because she hasn’t updated that bit since 2018. If she fixes it, and someone lets me know, I’ll take out this sentence.) Taylor Hammond has no website, and I tried to track down Taylor Hammond in Minneapolis and got two possible hits: a territory manager at a tool rental company and a newlywed. I ruled out a beauty influencer because her Twitter says Minnesota but her Insta makes it clear she’s in Colorado now. Anyway, I would absolutely vote for Hodan Hassan.

House District 63A

Long-time State Rep Jim Davnie is retiring and Samantha Sencer-Mura is the DFLer running. I realized when I looked at her bio that I’ve worked with Samantha — she’s the executive director of an organization called 826 MSP, which is an educational nonprofit that works with high schoolers. Back in 2019, I did a writing workshop at South High organized by this group. Samantha is herself a South High graduate. She’s hard working, progressive, dynamic, and I’m excited to have her in the legislature. Her opponent is Kyle Bragg, who is once again (every single time I google him I wind up having this same “WTF” moment) not the Black union organizer in New York State. He doesn’t have a website of any kind although he was interviewed in the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger in 2016. I would absolutely vote for Samantha Sencer-Mura.

House District 63B

Emma Greenman is running unopposed.

House District 64B

Kaohly Vang Her is the DFL incumbent. Dan Walsh, the Republican running, actually set up a website, so kudos to him for that, I guess. He’s a Boomer-ish white guy who hates criminal justice reform of all kinds and touts an endorsement from some guy who moved out of state so his kids wouldn’t be exposed to “Ethic Studies” (this confused me so much — seriously, Republicans are opposed to ethics now? openly? — that I Googled, and fortunately Google said, “do you mean ETHNIC studies” and I thought, ohhhhh that was probably it.) Kaohly Vang Her’s major priorities are education, health care, economic justice, and environmental justice. I would absolutely vote for Kaohly Vang Her.

House District 64B

Dave Pinto is the DFL incumbent. He’s my rep and he’s fine. His opponent is Lorraine Englund, who has no website. I maybe found her Facebook but I’m not sure (and it didn’t have anything political visible). I am going to vote for Dave Pinto.

House District 65A

The incumbent, Rena Moran, is not running (she’s running for Ramsey County Board, instead.) The DFL candidate is Samakab Hussein, the Republican is John Schonebaum, and there’s also a weed candidate, Miki Frost. I think the Republican is a computer programmer (I didn’t find any other John Schonebaums in the area — the Facebook hit was clearly the same guy and even less informative). Miki Frost also has no website although his mayoral race Facebook page from last year is still up (and what I wrote about him last year is here.) Anyway, I would definitely vote for Samakab Hussein.

House District 65B

This is an open seat. The DFL candidate is María Isa Pérez-Hedges. She’s a musician, progressive Democrat, and insulin organizer (she has Type I diabetes) who worked to pass the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. The Republican is Kevin Fjelsted. He’s aggressively anti-abortion, anti-vax and anti-mask, has a long rant about teachers’ unions, scarmongers about illegal votes, and has a couple of interesting thoughts about website accessibility (he’s blind) but he definitely doesn’t need to be in the legislature to share them. I would definitely vote for María Isa.

House District 66A

This is an open seat. Leigh Finke is the DFLer. She’s a progressive trans woman. The Republican is Trace Johnson, who’s one of those really genuinely puzzling examples of a gay Republican. The Republican party still explicitly calls for same-sex marriage rights to be repealed. I looked Trace up on Twitter and found a locked account where he proclaims himself a “deplorable,” and wading through a little of his Twitter with the (frustratingly slow) Wayback Machine turned up a bunch of cheerleading for January 6th and promotion of Trump’s big lie, so I’m going to go ahead and say: he’s an absolute piece of shit masquerading as a moderate (“Aren’t you tired of the constant bickering?” asks someone who retweeted a post cheering on the violent insurgents who broke into Speaker Pelosi’s office. Gosh.) Anyway, I would absolutely vote for Leigh Finke.

House District 66B

Athena Hollins is the DFL incumbent. Her Republican opponent, Jay Hill, loves cops and infrastructure and hates the taxes that pay for those things, in sort of standard Republican fashion, honestly. Also he wants to “allow for the freedom to make your own medical choices” which I’m going to just say, despite his lack of clarity on the topic, probably means “people should be able to send their children to public schools without vaccinating them” and not “people who need abortions should be able to get them.” I would absolutely vote for Athena Hollins.

House District 67A

This is the seat currently held by rolling disaster John Thompson, who lost in the primary. Liz Lee is the DFLer on the ballot. Scott Hesselgrave is the Republican who was put forward as a replacement candidate after the original Republican candidate, Beverly Peterson, died. I actually think it was entirely reasonable for the GOP to go to court to demand that new ballots be sent out after a clerical error sent out a bunch with Beverly Peterson’s name on it, but if you’re going to go to that much effort, you could also set up a website for your candidate? Anyway, I would vote for Liz Lee!

House District 67B

Jay Xiong is the DFL incumbent. His Republican opponent is Fred Turk, an aging geezer who is absolutely old enough to be getting his health care through Medicare who thinks that Medicaid is a waste of money. I would vote for Jay Xiong!


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for some DonorsChoose fundraisers. In Minneapolis, I found a science teacher at Sullivan STEAM magnet needs some better computers so his students can actually program the cool robots they got. In St. Paul, I found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students.

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Election 2022: Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 4

This is an open seat; long-time commissioner Toni Carter decided not to run again.

On the ballot:

Rena Moran
Darryl Spence

Rena Moran is a state legislator who is endorsed by the DFL and basically every Democrat holding office in the area. Darryl “The Rev” Spence is a pastor who is endorsed by a bunch of cops.

I spent a bunch of time trying to determine whether Darryl’s church was a conservative church or a liberal church. It’s Baptist, which could go either way. After a lot of digging I still don’t really have an answer. They just don’t say much on their website about their stance on anything, at all. I will note they require masking at their services. Anyway, it doesn’t matter all that much since “she’s endorsed by all the Democrats and he’s endorsed by Sheriff Bob Fletcher” is sufficient reason to say, I would vote for Rena Moran.


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for a DonorsChoose fundraiser for a classroom in St. Paul and found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. In her project intro, she notes, “With a new schedule this year, some students have to wait a very long time to eat lunch everyday. When students are hungry, they cannot focus and most students can’t afford to buy their own snacks.” This made me curious about their schedule. Some students at Harding don’t get to eat lunch until 1 p.m. School starts at 8:30. When I eat breakfast at 7:30 I’m ravenous by noon, never mind 1 p.m. Feeding kids is an absolute no-brainer, seriously.

(WordPress turned that last bit into a weirdly formatted mess, so I’m editing to see if that fixes it or makes it worse.)

Election 2022: Minnesota Attorney General

This is one of the races that’s so stark for me it almost doesn’t feel like I should need to write this. Keith Ellison is one of the DFLers who is not only better than the alternative, I’m actually extremely happy with the job he’s done, plus he’s up against a radical right-wing Republican who is smart enough to say the quiet part quietly but is nonetheless going to do anything and everything in his power to screw over LGBT people and anyone who needs an abortion while also defanging Minnesota’s consumer protections. tl;dr VOTE FOR KEITH ELLISON.

On the ballot:

Keith Ellison
Jim Schultz

At the top of my list of reasons I appreciate Keith Ellison’s work: his prosecution of Derek Chauvin. The AG’s office does not do a lot of criminal work (mostly that’s handled by the County Attorneys, more on this in a minute) but in a situation where a police officer is being prosecuted for a crime, there are significant advantages to letting a state official take the lead. (County Attorneys depend on police officers to testify in all their other criminal prosecutions; this creates a significant conflict when prosecuting police for crimes committed while on duty.) More importantly: Ellison’s office did an extremely good job prosecuting Chauvin. It is hard to get a conviction of a police officer, even when he commits cold-blooded murder in front of multiple cameras. They took nothing for granted, brought in top-notch experts, built the case, and won it.

Normally, the Attorney General is more focused on consumer and worker protection, and Ellison has also done a lot of excellent work there. He’s taken slumlords to court. He’s created a wage theft unit. He’s won debt relief for people who were conned into enrolling in fraudulent diploma-mill schools and a settlement from Navient over allegations they steered people away from the repayment plans that would have benefited the borrower. He defended the Alex Smith Insulin Affordability Act and joined a lawsuit against generic drug makers for colluding to keep costs high. He’s done a lot of really good work and I am genuinely really happy with him as AG.

Jim Schultz seems to be running on the platform of, “not Keith Ellison.” If you look at his website, it’s sort of shocking just how little information is on it. I counted, and on his issues page, he uses fewer than 100 words total. (It’s 71, to be exact.) The icons shift slightly when you mouse over them, suggesting that maybe they’re links that would go to a more detailed policy discussion, but nope. No links. Here’s one of his “issues”:

Defend the Constitution
Safeguard the constitutional rights of every Minnesotan.

He does not say which constitutional rights and we sure as hell know he doesn’t mean the right to an abortion! (I assume, after a bit of digging, that he means “the right to own guns and take them wherever the hell you want with no repercussions or inconveniences or requirements or training or whatever, at least if you’re white.”)

He’s tried repeatedly while running to claim that abortion is “settled law,” which — weirdly — is almost word-for-word what several of the Republican-nominated justices said in confirmation hearings and they went on to overturn Roe vs. Wade. His phrasing here is absolutely not a coincidence; it’s intended to reassure the right wing that he’s definitely going to do whatever’s in his power to stop people from getting abortions.

And what is in his power? Well, in the debate, he pointed out that AGs can wade in to criminal cases uninvited if they involve “racketeering.” The NLRC has been urging the passage of legislation that massively expands racketeering laws to prosecute people who provide abortions. Abortion in Minnesota is legal and protected, but that does not mean that Schultz would not be able to find loopholes to harass and prosecute people seeking or providing abortions. He served on the board of the “Human Life Alliance,” a nonprofit that says it seeks to make abortion “not only illegal, but unthinkable.”

This morning, I listened to a radio show (also a podcast) about “pill fairies,” women who provide abortion pills on demand in states where abortion is not legal. (There’s also a transcript — you can find it here.) The legal status of people who buy abortion pills over the counter and send them by mail is deeply unclear, but I am really confident that a Republican could dig up a law they could prosecute that under, whether it’s practicing medicine without a license or misuse of encryption. Racketeering laws are intended to prosecute people involved in criminal enterprise. So let’s say someone in Minnesota acts as an intermediary — buys the abortion pills via telemedicine for a friend, sends them along, and gets reimbursed the cost over Venmo. Do we really think Jim Schultz won’t try a racketeering charge for that, if it happens in Hennepin or Ramsey County and the County Attorney declines to treat this as a criminal matter?

In the piece about pill fairies, the journalist cites a Mexican activist in saying, “the bigger the movement becomes, the harder it’ll be to crack down on.” Overall, this is true. However, what I predict will happen is that right-wing prosecutors will try to make an example of anyone they happen to catch. There’s a saying popular among cops that goes, “You may beat the rap, but not the ride” — even if a jury refuses to convict, this sort of criminal prosecution can really fuck up someone’s life. And that would be the goal.

In the meantime, Jim Schultz has explicitly promised to protect the rights of people who take pharmacy jobs in order to act as the personal moralistic gatekeeper against anyone who needs medication they “disagree” with (rather than the rights of individuals who need medication) and I sure as hell don’t see him protecting the rights of same-sex married couples, never mind the rights of trans kids or their families.

He’s also a literal hedge fund lawyer and has made it thoroughly clear that his priority is not citizens that get ripped off, but businesses and their right to make as much money as possible. He wants to cut the number of consumer protection advocates in the AG’s office. He says he would hold businesses accountable for serious wrongdoing, which is a heck of a caveat. Just how serious does it have to be before he’d get involved? Does it matter if a company only stole $100 from you, rather than thousands? The Strib article also included this really classically Republican quote:

He would focus on protecting seniors in assisted living facilities from neglect and abuse, noting his late father who had dementia did not receive adequate care at one nursing home and had to be moved to another.

Seniors in assisted living facilities absolutely need protection from neglect and abuse. (This is in fact something Ellison’s office has worked on!) But it’s sure telling that the one area of consumer protection Schultz wants to talk about is the one where a family member has suffered unnecessarily. This is such a chronic Republican thing (where they suddenly recognize that something is a problem when it happens to them, their spouse, one of their parents, or one of their kids — because this is the set of people on whom they’re disinclined to blame the victim) that I thought surely there was a term for it but I’m not finding it. Maybe there isn’t! Maybe we should come up with one! Because it’s sure a thing.

Jim Schultz is not a moderate. He’s a right-wing extremist who believes all the same crap as Doug Wardlow, but said with a smile and couched in polite words. I am voting for Keith Ellison and I really hope everyone reading my blog will vote for him as well.

ETA 10/31 to add: Jim Schultz also committed massive campaign finance violations, coordinating with a Super PAC on $800,000 worth of ads. Totally fucking racist ads.


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for some DonorsChoose fundraisers. In Minneapolis, I found a science teacher at Sullivan STEAM magnet needs some better computers so his students can actually program the cool robots they got. In St. Paul, I found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. In her project intro, she notes, “With a new schedule this year, some students have to wait a very long time to eat lunch everyday. When students are hungry, they cannot focus and most students can’t afford to buy their own snacks.” This made me curious about their schedule. Some students at Harding don’t get to eat lunch until 1 p.m. School starts at 8:30. When I eat breakfast at 7:30 I’m ravenous by noon, never mind 1 p.m. Feeding kids is an absolute no-brainer, seriously.

Election 2022: Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 5

I really don’t have a lot to add since the primary, but people always ask, so. Rafael Ortega is the long-time incumbent.

On the ballot:

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

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.

I am, just in general, extra unimpressed by people whose positions include both a demand for lower taxes, and a long list of fun extras they think the government should be providing. Show some ideological consistency, ffs!

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 opponent is a crank. 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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for a DonorsChoose fundraiser for a classroom in St. Paul and found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. In her project intro, she notes, “With a new schedule this year, some students have to wait a very long time to eat lunch everyday. When students are hungry, they cannot focus and most students can’t afford to buy their own snacks.” This made me curious about their schedule. Some students at Harding don’t get to eat lunch until 1 p.m. School starts at 8:30. When I eat breakfast at 7:30 I’m ravenous by noon, never mind 1 p.m. Feeding kids is an absolute no-brainer, seriously.

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 3

Trista MatasCastillo was elected in 2018, displacing long-time incumbent Janice Rettman.

On the ballot this year:

Trista MatasCastillo (incumbent)
David A. Singleton

I was really pleased to see Trista win in 2018, and in the last four years, every time she’s crossed my radar it’s been something good or at least neutral. She’s been quoted in several articles on homelessness and how Ramsey County changed things to shelter people during the pandemic; earlier this month she was quoted talking about adding snow making capabilities to Battle Creek Regional Park.

Regarding David Singleton, I just want to note that if you visit his website on a desktop computer it initially looks like it doesn’t work. There’s content but you have to scroll down a whole lot. (It looks better on a phone.) He has one endorsement, from a state legislator from Cloquet. He’s a reserve police officer and maybe also a paralegal?

Over on his Facebook page he says, among other things, “Some and most people that have served in Government for multiple terms, are drunk on power,” which is a weird thing to say when you’re running against someone who’s finishing up her first term, and “I promise if you elect me to be your Ramsey County Commissioner for District 3, I will make your priorities my priorities,” and like, here’s the thing about that sort of promise, I guarantee you that plenty of my neighbors have very different priorities from me? Ten minutes poking around my Facebook neighborhood group makes that extremely clear! So the idea that he’ll make “your priorities” his priorities is pretty meaningless without more information he does not provide. (In this video of both candidates speaking, he lists his three priorities as law enforcement reform, business development, and government transparency, but with zero details.)

Anyway, I would vote for Trista MatasCastillo without hesitation.


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for a DonorsChoose fundraiser for a classroom in St. Paul and found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. In her project intro, she notes, “With a new schedule this year, some students have to wait a very long time to eat lunch everyday. When students are hungry, they cannot focus and most students can’t afford to buy their own snacks.” This made me curious about their schedule. Some students at Harding don’t get to eat lunch until 1 p.m. School starts at 8:30. When I eat breakfast at 7:30 I’m ravenous by noon, never mind 1 p.m. Feeding kids is an absolute no-brainer, seriously.

Elections 2022: Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 6

This is an open seat and a competitive race. On the ballot:

Ying Vang-Pao
Mai Chong Xiong

During the primary, I was pretty sure that these were the two candidates who would advance and said I’d take a closer look in the general. At the time, their priorities sounded pretty similar and while Mai Chong had more endorsements that impressed me, I thought Ying might be worth a second look.

So in the intervening months they have differentiated themselves a lot more significantly. Ying’s endorsements are a lot more conservative: she has Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher (who I do not like at all) and Dino Guerin. She also lists an endorsement from Alexander Bourne, which is sure a choice a person can make.

Mai Chong’s endorsements include the somewhat more centrist Jane Prince, but they also include Nelsie Yang, former mayor Chris Coleman (not to be confused with former mayor and overall slimeball Republican Norm Coleman — Chris is an actual Democrat, don’t get him mixed up with Norm!), current mayor Melvin Carter, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, and the DSA.

I took a look at Ying’s Priorities section, which she’s expanded a lot since the summer. Her second item is “more resources for law enforcement” (and she’s entirely vague about what she means there — more officers? higher wages? more military-grade weaponry?) Then I got to this one:

Finish the Yellow and Purple light rail lines, connecting the East Side to the light rail system, which will provide for higher density development, leading to more jobs and business opportunities and make the East Side more attractive to residents, business, and visitors. 

…and thought, wait, there are more light rail lines in progress for St. Paul? and looked this up. Both of these proposed lines are BRT, Bus Rapid Transit (here’s the Metro Transit page on Purple Line plans), and it’s the Gold Line not the Yellow Line. These are weird details to get wrong on your website.

Mai Chong talks about BRT on her Vision and Values page (“Ensure that Bus Rapid Transit Lines are fully funded and stops are accessible for those that need them most; Invest in electric buses and cut down diesel pollution through our neighborhoods.”) Though she doesn’t call for “finishing” the Gold and Purple lines, possibly because they’re scheduled and thus in the category of “stuff that’s going to happen, we just need to focus on making sure they’re done properly.”

One of the other places that their differences are really clear is on housing. They both talk about affordable housing:

Ying says, “More affordable housing by making Ramsey County more attractive for private investment in housing, thus increasing housing supply and keeping rents down. Rent is too high, but the resulting homelessness is caused by an acute shortage of homes, so by providing conditions that make it easier to build more homes where people of all income levels want to live – such as making more real estate available for housing, reducing regulations, making it faster to obtain required permits, and providing transportation options for new developments, we can end homelessness.

Mai Chong says, “We need to decommodify housing. We need to build a system in which every single person in our community has dignified housing. As your County Commissioner, I will fight for all of us and ensure that we build deeply affordable housing at and below 30% AMI; fully fund and push for low-interest loan programs that rehabilitate & repair homes and businesses to remove lead, improve energy efficiency, and install solar panels; build a pipeline for people who are homeless to obtain long-term, sustainable, and dignified housing.”

I will note that I feel like both of these answers on housing are problematic because I’m very much in the both/and/all school on “should we be addressing the housing shortage with public housing or with private development.” We need both, as much as possible, as quickly as possible. (It’s interesting that neither talks about the rent control ordinance, although Mai Chong talks about tenant’s rights further down in her housing section, and Ying does not.)

Anyway — at this point, this is a fairly straightforward decision for me. While there are things about Ying’s approach that I appreciate, I don’t like her “more resources for police” stance and I actively dislike some of her endorsements. I would absolutely vote for Mai Chong Xiong if I lived in District 6.


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking for a DonorsChoose fundraiser for a classroom in St. Paul and found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. In her project intro, she notes, “With a new schedule this year, some students have to wait a very long time to eat lunch everyday. When students are hungry, they cannot focus and most students can’t afford to buy their own snacks.” This made me curious about their schedule. Some students at Harding don’t get to eat lunch until 1 p.m. School starts at 8:30. When I eat breakfast at 7:30 I’m ravenous by noon, never mind 1 p.m. Feeding kids is an absolute no-brainer, seriously.

Election 2022: Minnesota Secretary of State

I’m back from South Korea, super jet-lagged and foggy, but this is a very straightforward one so I should be okay, right?

On the ballot:

Kim Crockett (GOP)
Steve Simon (DFL)

Kim Crockett is frankly despicable. She’s a proponent of Trump’s big lie and has been completely open about her desire to make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote. On her website she says we should “protect vulnerable citizens” and says “the elderly, homeless, and non-English speaking citizens are being exploited for their votes. Why do election rules allow and encourage this?” — she’s previously questioned the right of disabled people and non-English-speakers to vote and I read this as more of the same.

On her Twitter feed, she retweeted an adulatory post about Giorgia Meloni, who is, at minimum, fascist-adjacent, and a tweet saying “Never Forget what they did to us” with a clip from Halloween 2020 suggesting safe ways for children to have fun during the pre-vaccine pandemic Halloween.

She’s whined about “ad hominem attacks” which is hilarious because she’s genuinely an incredibly terrible person. Why would I trust a really bad person, a liar and conspiracy theorist, a racist and ableist, someone who won’t even commit to accepting the results of the election she’s running in, to run elections? As I noted back in August, the Republican party has made it abundantly clear that they have complete contempt for the entire concept of government of, for, and by the people. No one should trust any Republican with elections, in Minnesota or any other state, but especially not Kim Crockett.

ETA: Also her husband is a huuuuuuuuuge fan of voter intimidation. He’s not the one running, but when you’re running for a job overseeing elections and you’re married to someone who goes to a Tea Party Patriots meeting to talk about how Republicans should round up family members who are “deputies or sheriffs” to be “part of a SWAT team” on election day, you get no benefit of the doubt from me. Kim Crockett should be allowed nowhere near this job!

Steve Simon has done an excellent job — in particular, he did a really good job in 2020 dealing with the complexities of elections in a pandemic. I would absolutely and without hesitation vote for Steve Simon even if his opponent were one of the handful of Republicans standing up against Trump; under the circumstance I would crawl over broken glass to vote for Steve, but fortunately, thanks to Steve, I’ll have lots of better options, including no-excuses in-person absentee voting. Vote for Steve, who will never make you crawl over broken glass to cast your ballot (okay, maybe I should have waited until I was less jet-lagged to write this post…?)


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 and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)

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.

I also went looking and found a cool DonorsChoose fundraiser for a classroom in Minneapolis: a science teacher at Sullivan STEAM magnet needs some better computers so his students can actually program the cool robots they got.

Election 2022: Governor

HEY NAOMI WHERE THE HECK ARE YOUR POSTS

Hello from South Korea! I really truly intended to put a dent in my posts before I went on my (two week) trip to Seoul, and I totally did not even start before leaving, so. We may go old-school for some of these, which is to say, maybe a little less of a deep dive, because let’s be honest, most of you know that what you should do in the partisan races is just. vote. for the Democrat. Your DFL option may be imperfect but the alternative is invariably worse. Unhappy with Tim Walz? Your other option for governor is anti-vax anti-choice anti-gay pro-censorship big-lie-promoting asshole Scott Jensen!

It’s tempting to just leave this post there (I’m in a hotel in Myeongdong with a remarkably uncomfortable desk) but I’ll go through the list of people on the ballot because I really do want to make fun of the “Jury Democracy” guy.

Steve Patterson and Matt Huff (Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis)
James McCaskel and David Sandbeck (Legal Marijuana Now)
Hugh McTavish and Mike Winter (Independence Alliance)
Gabrielle M. Prosser and Kevin A. Dwire (Socialist Worker)
Scott Jensen and Matt Birk (Republican)
Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan (DFL)

Continue reading

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.