Election 2020: Saint Paul School Board

This is a special election to fill the seat that was left empty by Marny Xiong’s incredibly tragic and untimely death. (She was 31 and died of COVID.)

On the ballot:

Jamila Mame
Jim Vue
James Farnsworth
Keith Hardy
Omar Syed
Charlotte “Charlie” Castro

Jim Vue was elected by the rest of the board to fill the seat until an election could be held, so he’s semi-incumbent but only barely. (Link goes to the Pioneer Press news bank; should be accessible with a St. Paul library card.) Keith Hardy previously served two terms on the Saint Paul School Board before losing his seat in 2015. (He was also a finalist for the interim position). Omar Syed and Charlie Castro both ran for school board in 2019.

One source that gives some really detailed information on each candidate is Saint Paul Federation of Teachers Questionnaire, available here.

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Election 2020: US Representative, District 4

This is the St. Paul congressional seat currently held by Betty McCollum. The tl;dr is that I think you should vote for Betty McCollum.

On the ballot:

Betty McCollum (DFL)
Gene Rechtzigel (Republican)
Susan Sindt (Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis)

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Election 2020: Primary Sample Ballot & Uncle Hugo’s Fundraiser

MINNEAPOLIS WARD 6 CITY COUNCIL (NOT A PRIMARY)

  1. Abdirizak Bihi
  2. Saciido Shaie
  3. Alex PalaciosAlthough I have not re-visited this one and Saciido Shaie did not register a campaign committee and Abdirizak Bihi did not file a campaign finance report. The candidates who were actually following the rules on that were Alex Palacios, Jamal Osman, and AJ Awed. Despite him having not initially made my top three, I might switch to AJ Awed at this point if I lived in the district.

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOL BOARD

At-Large — Michael Dueñes
District 4 — Adriana Cerillo but possibly Mims in the general, undecided

US SENATE

Tina Smith, but if you want a further-to-the-left option in the primary you can vote for Paula Overby. If you’re voting in the Republican party primary for some reason, totally vote for Bob “Again” Carney.

US HOUSE

CD 4 — Betty McCollum
CD 5 — Ilhan Omar

MN SENATE

59 — Bobby Joe Champion
62 — Omar Fateh
65 — Laverne McCartney Knighton

MN HOUSE

59B — Esther Agbaje
63A — Jim Davnie
63B — Emma Greenman
66B — Athena Hollins
67A — Couldn’t decide, both candidates look awesome ETA TO ADD: a comment on my post says that Murphy actually dropped out, so Thompson it is.

FYI, I spent July mostly focused on revising my novel, CHAOS ON CATNET, which is turned into my editor and incidentally available for pre-order on Amazon. This meant I didn’t get some of these write-ups done in time to be useful, unfortunately. But also, these days I usually try to run some sort of fundraiser and I didn’t have the bandwidth to think about what to point people to.

But, a couple of days ago I got an update on the Save Uncle Hugo’s fundraiser, which included some updates from owner Don Blyly. I’ve been meaning to write about this in more detail, because Don has always been unusually forthcoming about the ups and downs of owning a small business, and the stuff he’s run into just trying to get basic stuff like a demolition permit (his store was burned to the ground but he will need to pay someone to scoop out and haul the rubble, for which he needs a permit) has been nightmarish, the kind of absolute bullshit that makes me want to scream, “does the city of Minneapolis want to transform the Lake Street corridor into a mix of checks-cashed-here places and chain stores? Is that their goal?” (It’s not just Don running into this; Ruhel Islam, the owner of Gandhi Mahal, has spoken about some of the obstacles too.)

Anyway: Uncle Hugo’s is one of my favorite stores on the planet, so much so that in my fictional Future Minneapolis in Chaos on CatNet (which takes place approximately 10 years in the future), I gave them a beautiful new storefront on Lake Street with a sculpture of a rocket ship on the front of the building. I think Don wants to rebuild if he possibly can. I would encourage my so-enthusiastic-they-wish-to-send-money-somewhere readers to please contribute to the Uncle Hugo’s rebuilding fund or buy one of their t-shirts or sweatshirts. You can also, as it happens, order a signed copy of Catfishing on CatNet from him — he’s running a mail-order business from his house at the moment.

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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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 2019: Ballot Roundup

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

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

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

YES

Analysis on the trash hauling referendum here.

Council Member Ward 1

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

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 2

  1. Rebecca Noecker
  2. Bill Hosko

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 3

  1. Chris Tolbert

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 4

  1. Mitra Jalali Nelson
  2. Tarrence Robertson-Bayless

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 5

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

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 6

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

Analysis here.

Council Member Ward 7

  1. Jane Prince
  2. Mary Anne Quiroz

Analysis here.

Saint Paul School Board

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

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

Analysis here.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Election 2019: St. Paul City Council, Ward 7

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

Here’s who’s running in Ward 7:

Kartumu King
Jane Prince
Mary Anne Quiroz
David Thom

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

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Election 2019: St. Paul City Council, Ward 6

This was supposed to be a race for an open seat, so there are a lot of candidates. Here’s the list:

Alexander Bourne
Kassim Busuri
Greg Copeland
Danielle Swift
Terri Thao
Nelsie Yang

Lots more info below.

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