Election 2020: US House MN-04 Primaries

This is the Betty McCollum seat and not the Ilhan Omar seat, which has a much more competitive primary; I’ll be writing about that before the primary, but the more complex races tend to take me more time. My next post is going to be about the Minneapolis school board primary, since I’ve had multiple people ask about it already.

In Saint Paul, we’ve got the following DFLers:

Tiffini Flynn Forslund
Alberder Gillespie
Betty McCollum (incumbent)
Reid Rossel
David Sandbeck

And two Republicans:

Gene Rechtizgel
Sia Lo

To remind people again how this works: you can pick one party for all your partisan races. If you vote in both the Republican and the DFL primary, even if you’re voting in the Republican race for Senate and the DFL for House, your ballot is spoiled and your votes will not be counted. In person, the machine will spit out your ballot and you can go back for a fresh ballot and a re-do, but if you vote by mail, you are SOL because your ballot is separated from the envelope before being put through the machine, and they have no way of knowing whose ballot it was.

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Election 2020: US Senate Primaries

I’m going to kick this off with an easy one.

Senator Tina Smith was appointed in 2017, ran to keep the seat for the remainder of the term in 2018, and is now running for a six-year regular Senate term. Senator Amy Klobuchar was re-elected to a six-year term in 2018 and is apparently not running for Vice President; if, say, she gets appointed to a presidential cabinet position sometime in early 2021, Tim Walz will get to appoint someone to fill her seat, and that person will then run in the 2022 election to serve out the rest of that term. Mentioning that just in case anyone’s wondering.

On the DFL ballot:

Tina Smith
Steve Carlson
Christopher Lovell Seymore, Sr.
Paula Overby
Ahmad R. Hassan

On the Republican ballot:

Jason Lewis
Bob “Again” Carney Jr.
Cynthia Gail
James Reibestein
John L. Berman

I always imagine Willy Wonka (the Gene Wilder version) singing “come with me…and you’ll be…in a world of pure imagination” when I hit the “Insert Read More tag” button, for some reason. Rivers of chocolate: probably cooler than political candidates. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka: less of a weirdo than some of these people.

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Election 2020: Minnesota Primaries

So hey, for those who started following this blog because I’m a science fiction writer, just a heads up for you, I also write an election guide for my local elections. My vague apologies to those who were not expecting to be inundated with Minneapolis and Saint Paul election stuff.

Anyway. Primary elections in Minnesota will be held August 11th. The presidential primary was back in March; these are the primaries for everything else. Information on voting by mail can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State site.

A note on how the primary elections work: everyone gets the same ballot. The front of the ballot is divided down the middle. On one side are the Republican primaries; on the other are the DFL primaries. You pick one party. If you cast votes on both sides, you’ll spoil your ballot and none of your votes will be counted, in any race. You will spoil your ballot even if you stick to one party for each race (like if you vote in the Republican primary for US Senate, the Democratic primary for US House). Pick one. You only get to vote in one party’s primaries. Edited to add: And then, if you’re in Minneapolis, you’ll also have a nonpartisan race on the back of the ballot. You can vote in that one regardless. (Someone pointed out that “vote on only one side!” was actually a bad way to phrase this and they were right. You can vote both front and back! You can’t vote both DFL and GOP, though.)

If you’re voting in person, and try to vote in both party primaries, the machine will reject your ballot, and you can trade it in for a fresh ballot and try again. If you’re voting by mail … I am not sure if there’s any mechanism to notify you that you fucked up your ballot but my guess would be no.

Primary races happening this year:

US Senate. Incumbent Senator Tina Smith is running for a six-year term as Senator. She has opponents in the primary. There’s also a Republican primary. Unless something very strange happens, it’s going to be Tina Smith vs. Jason “Unfamiliar With the Concept of Animal Control” Lewis in November.

US House. In MN-04, Betty McCollum has four opponents challenging her for the nomination; there are also two Republicans running for the opportunity to lose in November. In MN-05, Ilhan Omar has four opponents in the primary (at least one of whom, Antone Melton-Meaux, is being taken seriously and supported by people I know). Three Republicans are running for the opportunity to lose in November, one of whom has been banned from Twitter and has an active arrest warrant for felony shoplifting, or did back in February, anyway.

Minnesota Senate. Every seat in the State Senate will be up for election in November. In August, Senator Bobby Joe Champion (MN-59) is being challenged by Suielman Isse; Jeff Hayden (MN-62) is being challenged by Omar Fateh; and Sandy Pappas (MN-65) is being challenged by Laverne McCartney Knighton. (You can see the full rundown of challenges in this very helpful MPR article.)

Minnesota House. Every seat in the State House will be up for election in November. In August, Rep Raymond Dehn (MN-59B) is being challenged by Isaiah Whitmore and Esther Agbaje; Rep Jim Davnie (MN-63A) is being challenged by April Kane; and Rep. John Lesch (MN-66B) is being challenged by Athena Hollins.

Also, in House District 63B, Rep Jean Wagenius is retiring and Emma Greenman, Husniyah Dent Bradle, and Jerome T Evans are running in the primary to fill her seat; In House District 67A, Rep Tim Mahoney is retiring and John Thompson and Hoang Murphy are running to fill his seat.

(For the full rundown, including a list of legislative candidates who will have no opponent in either the primary or the general election, see the MPR article here.)

Minneapolis School Board. Minneapolis is also electing several school board members. The at-large race will appear on the Primary ballot; you can vote for one of the five people running. (The incumbent is Kim Ellison.) In District 2, incumbent Kerry Jo Felder has one opponent, which I think means this race won’t show up on the primary ballot. In District 4, Bob Walser is not running again, and there are three people running, which I think means the race will show up on the primary ballot (for people in District 4.)

I think that’s it for the primary races, but if you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul and I missed a race you see on your primary ballot, please drop me a comment and let me know.

And don’t forget that Minnesota makes it easy to vote by mail!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT NOTES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Election 2020: Special Election, State Representative District 60A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other useful information you can find online:

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

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

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Election 2020: Special Election, State Representative District 60A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part One
Part Two

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

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

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

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

Election 2018: Minnesota Secretary of State

JESUS H. CHRIST, PEOPLE, WHY WOULD ANY OF YOU TRUST A REPUBLICAN FOR EVEN FIVE GODDAMN MINUTES WITH A BALLOT?

(This whole thing was written in all-caps but it started to get kind of long and difficult to read. But please imagine me shouting this whole post.)

The entire Republican party, nationwide, has made it absolutely goddamn motherfucking clear that they will deny the vote to any person they judge likely to be a Democrat if they can come up with even the barest pretext that allows them to do it. They will purge voter registrations based on race and zip code. They will require people to get a government-issued photo ID, and then close down every office that would supply those IDs if they’re reachable by people in poor city neighborhoods or mostly-black small towns. They will, in a state where the local reservations have never gotten around to assigning street addresses, announce with less than a month before the election that you’ll need a street address to vote. They will reject online voter registrations. And while insisting that this is all to ensure the integrity of our elections (WHICH IS A LIE) they will refuse to fix systems that can literally be hacked.

Republicans are the minority in this country. Even with our fucked-up system that lets Presidents win when they lost the popular vote, that lets Senators who represent 44% of the US population approve a Supreme Court Justice for life, even with the structural unfairness that gives Republicans a disproportionate voice in running this country, they know, they know that they cannot win if they do not cheat.

Steve Simon is a perfectly fine Secretary of State and to my knowledge, he’s an upstanding citizen of excellent character. Right now, though? Right now, I would vote for him if he were a literal yellow dog.

We have a Republican guy named John Howe running who wants you to believe that the real problem here is “voter fraud” (IT IS NOT) and a guy named William Denney who’s apparently the last Jessecrat standing who wants you to believe that it would be better to have someone from a third party running elections (it’s possible he has a point but it doesn’t matter; he’s not going to win).

Vote for Steve Simon.

 

Election 2018: Judge, Court of Appeals 2

This is a state-wide race: it is on everyone’s ballot. I almost didn’t notice it was contested, because the challenger didn’t have a website up in time to get it linked from the voter info portal site I use to see what the races even are.

Running:

Lucinda Ellen Jesson (Incumbent)
Anthony L. Brown

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Election 2018: Governor of Minnesota

This was a genuinely hard choice in the primaries but now that we’ve arrived at the general election, it is SUPER easy.

On the ballot:

Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan (DFL)
Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom (Republican)
Chris Wright and Judith Schwartzbacker (Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis)
Josh Welter and Mary O’Connor (Libertarian)

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