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.


Election 2020: Minnesota House, 64B

On the ballot:

Dave Pinto (DFL)
Georgia Dietz (Republican)

Dave Pinto is a progressive and generally responsive legislator who is doing a fine job.

Georgia Dietz is the chair of the Senate District 64 Republicans and is realistic enough about her chances that she hasn’t bothered setting up a website. Sharon Anderson’s campaign is a good illustration of why it’s always worth having some reasonably respectable Republican show up and file, even if they’re absolutely not going to win.

I’m going to vote for Dave Pinto.

If you’ve read all the way to the bottom: I took the time to look over on Donors Choose for some Minneapolis public school teachers who could use some financial help during These Difficult Times and in particularly with distance learning. Ms. Stone is a teacher at Cityview Elementary in North Minneapolis. She will be teaching third graders this year, and to help them succeed with distance learning, she is requesting a set of Chromebooks for her class. To equip this class of children with the basic technology they will need for distance learning will require another $5,411 to be raised by October 3rd. Can my readers raise that much? If not, can they at least get it to within sight of the finish line so a corporation or foundation will be inspired to swoop in and match our donations? I think it’s worth trying.

(I don’t have a patreon or a ko-fi but I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing projects fund after I point people at them. Please donate!)

Election 2020: MN House 59B Primary

This is the seat currently held by Raymond Dehn, the progressive favorite mayoral candidate back in 2017. On the ballot:

Raymond Dehn (incumbent)
Esther Agbaje (endorsed by the DFL)
Isaiah Whitmore

Lisa Neal-Delgado, a Green, will be running in the general election. (I mention this just in case you’ve seen her name and are wondering why she’s not getting discussed!)

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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.


  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 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 State House, 64B

This is my legislative district. Running:

Dave Pinto (DFL)
Alex Pouliot (Republican)

Dave has been my rep since Paymar retired. I like him. He’s progressive, smart, and thoughtful. You can see the bills he was chief author of in the last session here; bills he co-authored are here.

Alex Pouliot is currently a legislative aide for the Transportation and Regional Government Policy committee, which may explain why (unlike many Republicans) he likes buses. In trying to track down other information about him, I found this article from 2008, when he was 18 and volunteering for Mitt Romney. It has this absolutely priceless bit:

The state deputy chairman of the Minnesota Teenage Republicans, Pouliot began to take interest in politics about three years ago, a passion sparked by a U.S. history class. He remembers reading about robber barons and taxation.

“I thought, that’s not fair, these people earned their money,” said Pouliot, adding that abortion is important to him because he’s Catholic.

How many people read about the robber barons of the Gilded Age and say, “wow, it’s so unfair these people got taxed!” (Also, his reading of Catholic teaching was interestingly selective.)

Anyway, I’m going to vote for Dave Pinto.