Election 2022: US House 04 and 05

I’m just going to put these in one post. I think these are the last contested races I hadn’t written about? (Note: I only write about races that appear on the ballots in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so if you’re trying to find information on the congressional races in 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, or 8, you won’t find details here other than “obviously you should VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRAT.” I also don’t write about uncontested races.) If I’ve forgotten a race, you can leave a comment and I’ll try to get to it. In the meantime — I’m going to try to do some doorknocking this weekend and would strongly encourage my fellow DFL voters to find a way to volunteer, whether that’s doorknocking, text-banking, phone-banking, or GOTV catfishing (look, I’m not going to judge).

In Minneapolis/congressional district 5, we have:

Ilhan Omar (DFL)
Cicely Davis (Republican)

Ilhan Omar is hardworking, fiery, and a member of “the Squad.” Cicely David has a website that manages to be both frequently illegible and mostly content-free, and she spends a lot of time trying to present herself as super moderate while ignoring all questions about her position on abortion. Vote for Ilhan Omar.

In St. Paul/congressional district 4, we have:

Betty McCollum (DFL)
May Lor Xiong (Republican)

Betty McCollum is hardworking, reliable, and from what Paul Wellstone used to call “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.” May Lor Xiong scaremongers on her website about “open borders.” Per a comment to MPR, she apparently thinks the Mexican border should be closed to immigrants. She’s also opposed to the Green New Deal and the ACA and has scrupulously avoided all public comment on abortion but she’s endorsed by the MCCL. May Lor Xiong is not even doing a very good job at the “pretending not to be a right-wing extremist” thing, and I am absolutely voting for Betty McCollum.

So a week or two back, it looked like WordPress had deleted most of my subscribers? But now it’s back to saying I have 10,143 instead of 473. But if you rely on e-mail to notify you I’ve posted, and this is the first post you’ve seen this year, you should know I’ve posted a bunch of other posts! Also, if you’re not a subscriber, plugging in your e-mail in the subscriber box (you may have to do this on desktop rather than phone) will get you an e-mail every time I post. That might not sound appealing, but if it does, now you know.

If you’d like to make a donation to encourage me to keep working on these, I am highlighting a science teacher at Sullivan STEAM magnet who needs some better computers so his students can actually program the cool robots they got. Or, you can donate to the Movement Voter fundraiser I created; I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and the fundraiser is still active. You could also get out this weekend and do some GOTV volunteering. Drop me a comment if you do and want to tell me.

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.)


Primary Elections 2022: US House 05

The good news for me with this post is, I already kind of did the homework on this one back in February when Don Samuels first started exploring a run.

On the Democratic primary ballot:

Ilhan Omar (incumbent)
Don Samuels
Albert Ross
AJ Kern
Nate Schluter

Nate Schluter
I initially thought he had no website, but one of my Twitter followers found it! It … doesn’t really help much. He likes football metaphors, is susceptible to scams, and expresses some really gross nativist bullshit on his blog. He does at least appear to be a Democrat.

AJ Kern
AJ Kern is a “Conservative Christian” and right-wing asshole who wants “standing” to question Ilhan Omar’s citizenship. Did you know that when you sign an Affidavit of Candidacy to file as a party candidate in a major party, you affirm, among other things, “I either participated in the party’s most recent precinct caucuses or intend to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates at the next general election.” When you sign in at a caucus you affirm that you are broadly in agreement with the principles of the party. What I’m saying is, AJ Kern blatantly perjured herself, and I know it’s not worth anyone’s time to pursue it, but it’s garbage she’s even on here. Oh, she’s challenging Don Samuels’ citizenship, too. What a profoundly toxic asshole (and liar).

Albert Ross
Albert Ross has an unreadable, largely content-free website. (“Driven by making an impact and inspiring change, our Political Movement is always expanding our understanding of contemporary issues and developing our campaign to push for positive solutions. Learn more about our focus below.” Narrator voice: there’s nothing below this.) He does at least appear to be a Democrat.

Don Samuels

I was talking to a St. Paul friend about this race and summed up Don as a buffoon with a body count.

In 2005, he explained that his family (he’s from Jamaica) had a leg up on everyone else because they were descended from house slaves rather than field slaves. (“The reason that my family got a leg up on the people in our village in Jamaica is that we were in the big house. We saw homework done. They saw books read. They saw the piano lessons. And that’s why my wife and I say, ‘we want our house to be the big house on our block.’ And we’re going to open it up to every kid on our block.”)

ETA: he also sat for an interview with the late Sarah Janacek and in his discussion of Katrina’s aftermath he said the following: “Those were dark faces on those women, almost bizarrely unblended. They looked like they were from Haiti or Africa. This is part of the unspoken evolution of race. We cannot seem to talk about the reality that lighter- skinned black people are more likely to escape poverty.” The “unspoken evolution” line made me flinch because I don’t think he was just talking here about the damage done by colorism, especially given his comments (that came at the same time as that “big house” line) about being descended from mixed-race people. (That line is making me cringe so hard I’m just going to link, not quote, but I’m going to say, I find it kind of shocking that the 2013 mayoral profile that I linked earlier excises that line?)

In 2007, while a City Council member, he said that he thought North High should be burned down. Worth noting that this hyperbole was part of a push for vouchers.

In 2012, he had an op-ed published in which he described confronting someone for public urination, who then stole Don’s phone, only Don used the Find my IPhone feature plus the services of the cops to retrieve it and have the thief arrested, at which point he delivered a long lecture to the thief. (Two notes about this. First, I have known a ton of people who’ve had Apple products stolen, have known exactly where they are thanks to Find My iPhone, and usually have had zero luck getting cops to help them get their devices back. Second, there are multiple spots in this story that had a distinct “AND THEN EVERYONE CLAPPED” vibe.)

Don was a Vikings stadium supporter and after voting to approve it in 2013 (overriding the law that was supposed to require a municipal referendum) he had this comment about being surprised to be handed “an envelope with … a couple grand” from trade unions. This was at least less corrupt than his giddy comments made it sound. Overriding the will of the people to build a giant sports palace was, and remains, bullshit.

In 2014, he called the cops on a hot dog giveaway being run by a neighborhood organization trying to encourage people to vote. He said he thought they were selling the hot dogs illegally. They had a large sign saying “Free Hot Dogs” and were doing this right outside their organization’s office, which Don had been to. (There’s a video of the conversation between the organizers and the cop that includes the cop saying in a slightly confused tone, “I’m here … for the grilling of the food,” which clarifies that Don literally called 911 over this.) (In 2021, he claimed in a Facebook thread about this that there had been repeated grilling incidents and it was a fire hazard.)

Last year, he endorsed Mickey Moore and only retracted his endorsement because it turned out Mickey didn’t live in the district. He also went driving around in his underwear to pursue a guy who was rifling his car for change. And having sued in 2020 to force Minneapolis to hire more police, he sued in 2021 to have the public safety charter amendment tossed off the ballot. This was in cooperation with the (right-wing) Center for the American Experiment; additional friendly ties to CAE are documented here (or see this Twitter thread).

All of this buffoonery pales next to the incident where he and his wife took some neighborhood kids on an outing and let everyone go wading in the Mississippi River. Don can’t swim. When two of the little boys lost their footing and were pulled away by the current, Don’s wife Sondra was the only one who could go after them, and one of the children drowned. This happened in the summer of 2020 and was a heartbreaking, awful accident.

Which Don joked about earlier this year. (In response to someone talking about the incident and the incredible hubris involved in running for office a a year and a half after a child died because of your poor judgment, Don tweeted, “Can’t swim but can govern.”)

When I first saw that tweet, I honestly just assumed that “donsamuels49” was a satirical troll with extremely bad taste. I was absolutely flabbergasted to find out this was actually Don joking about the death of a child who was in his care.

Ilhan Omar

At this point, you probably know whether or not you like Ilhan Omar. Or maybe it varies by week. (There are definitely weeks I am annoyed at her but this week I’m a fan.)

I would absolutely without hesitation vote for her in this race!

On the Republican side there are three people running:

Royce White
Cicely Davis (GOP endorsed)
Guy T Gaskin

It literally does not matter which of these people you vote for because none of them have any chance, at all, of winning, and they’re all awful. I guess the fact that Royce White’s website uses the term “globalist” (an antisemitic dogwhistle) in practically every sentence makes him extra awful, so if you’re voting in this race for some reason, go with Cicely Davis.

Post-primary, be sure to tell your Republican family members in other states how extremely worried everyone here is about Ilhan losing, so they send their money to her opponent rather than Republicans running in actual swing districts.

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.

Election 2018: US House, 5th Congressional District

As I started up a video to watch Jennifer Zielinski talk at the State Fair along with Greg Ryan, it occurred to me that I could maybe devote a little less perfectionistic attention to the races where (a) nothing I find is going to change who I’d vote for and (b) nothing I write is going to change who wins.

This seat hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1962.  Keith Ellison’s lowest total was 56% the first time he ran, when the Republican and the Independence candidate more or less tied with 21%. The most impressively unbalanced result was in 2012, when Keith got 75% to the Republican’s 25%.

Given this, I’m sure it was a huge relief to the Republicans that Jennifer Zielinski stepped forward to run and the Republican slot didn’t go to Bob “Again” Carney, who published a book calling for Trump to be impeached, or Chris Chamberlin, who ran for President in 2016 under the name Vlad Draculea. Their best case in a race like this is a friendly, hardworking, basically normal person who will campaign and turn out the vote because it’ll help them in statewide races.

On the ballot:

Ilhan Omar (DFL)
Jennifer Zielinski (Republican)

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Elections 2018: US Representative, District 5

This race abruptly got more interesting during the DFL State Convention, when Keith Ellison decided to run for Attorney General, opening up this seat. There was a mad dash to file; a bunch of the filers then withdrew after seeing someone they liked and respected (or didn’t think they could reasonably beat) in the contest. The 5th district DFL reconvened and held an endorsing convention, which I thought was an absolutely terrible idea under the circumstances. Anyway, it’s been an interesting year.

The good news: this is a very, very, very, very blue district. In 2016, Keith Ellison won with 69.1% of the vote (and the “Legal Marijuana Now” person got 8% of what was left.) If this is your district, you can vote your heart in the primary without asking yourself, “but will this person win in the general?” Also, if you want any input on your next congressional rep, you will definitely want to show up on August 14th.

The candidates running:

Frank Nelson Drake
Bobby Joe Champion
Jamal Abdi Abdulahi
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Patricia Torres Ray
Ilhan Omar

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