Today, Governor Dayton issued two writs calling for special elections to fill the vacant seats in House District 14A and in House District 19A. The special primaries, if needed, will take place on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, and the special elections will take place on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.
These special elections come following the resignations of two members of the Minnesota House of Representatives. House District 14A has been vacated by Representative Steve Gottwalt, effective January 7, 2013. House District 19A has been vacated by Representative Terry Morrow, effective January 7, 2013.
Candidates must file with the Minnesota Secretary of State or with a county auditor in each district between Wednesday, January 9 and Tuesday, January 15, 2013, according to a pdf released by the governor's office.
What this means
House District 19A: So far, all six of the candidates who have announced as Democrats and Republicans in House District 19A have agreed to abide by the decision of the delegates of their endorsing conventions, while the CD1 Independence Party chair doesn't expect a second candidate to file as a IP candidate.
Update: Despite the agreement to abide, there's almost certainly going to be a DFL primary because the DFL endorsing convention occurs after the period during which candidates can withdraw. See Oops! local DFL official convention call to force primary in MN House District 19A special election for details. This wil cost additional resources [end update].
While it's rumored that a fourth Democrat will enter the race on Wednesday or Thursday, for now the declared contenders are special education teacher and union leader Robin Courrier; MSU-Mankato college professor and adviser Clark Johnson; and, Nicollet County pork producer, businessman and ag leader Karl Johnson. All bring years of experience in diverse fields and strong leadership skills.
Like the DFLers, the Republican candidates possess strong (if in one case eccentric) experience and leadership. Joel Brinker served on the St. Peter City Council; Jim Golgart is a nationally respected county veterans service officer; Allen Quist, a conservative icon and perennial candidate.
The lone IP candidate, Tim Gieseke, is a farmer and innovator in sustainable production agriculture.
The Republican endorsing convention will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the former movie theater at the Mankato Place mall.
The DFL will convene Saturday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Mankato Fire Department
on Howard Road. This
The Independence Party will hold an endorsement convention Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Peter Civic Center.
House District 14A: The St Cloud Times' Mark Sommerhauser reports:
. . .[T]wo more Republicans announced plans to run for the now-open seat and a Democrat said she may run.
Iraq War veteran Scott MacHardy of St. Cloud and former St. Cloud city councilman John Severson, both Republicans, announced their candidacies for the House District 14A seat that Gottwalt is vacating....
MacHardy and Severson join fellow Republican Tama Theis, who announced last week she would run in District 14A, which covers west and south St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Augusta.
On the DFL side, two candidates have expressed interest. Sommerhauser reports:
. . . Former St. Cloud school board member Joanne Dorsher, a DFLer, said she’s considering a run. . .
On the DFL side, Dorsher joins Jerry McCarter, a Senate candidate in 2012, who also said last week he’s considering a bid for the 14A House seat.
Dorsher said she’ll decide by week’s end if she will run. She ran for the Minnesota House in 2008 against Gottwalt, losing by about 7 percentage points.
The Republican endorsing convention is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at North Junior High.
Sommerhauser reports that the DFL endorsing convention is tentatively set for January 26, but with the new filing and special election deadlines, Bluestem strongly suspects that this hypothetical date will change.
How will the elections playout? Special elections are crap shoots, generally dependent on getting out reliable party base voters when they occur in competitve districts. MPR staff reporter Tom Scheck notes:
There have been 17 special elections in the Minnesota Legislature since 2004. DFLers won 13 of those races. GOP won four times.
Some of the DFL wins occurred in deep-blue Democratic districts; others, like wins by Lisa Fobbe and Kevin Dahle, reflect better field and GOTV by the DFL,
Photo: Even a spectacular Franni Franken pie that went to the best doorknocking volunteer in the SD26 special election in 2010 didn'r turn the tide for DFL candidate and St. Olaf mad scientist Jason Engbrecht in the Republican stronghold. Last year, a little redistricting and Emo Senator fatigue swept DFL dynamo Vicki Jensen into the SD24 open seat.
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