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Election brings mixed results for labor's candidates in local races, setback in Anoka County

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 23, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — In 2012, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation endorsed candidates in 23 local races for county commissioner, city council, park board, and judge. Election night results: 12 of the 23 labor-endorsed local candidates won election.

The MRLF put a priority on winning targeted legislative races in 2012, although the federation did send mailings in selected local races on behalf of its endorsed candidates.

Anoka County Board

The election’s biggest setbacks came in Anoka County, where only one of the four candidates endorsed by the MRLF for Anoka County commissioner won election.

In 2013, the seven-member Anoka County Board will include only two members who are labor-endorsed.

Gone from the Board will be longtime commissioner and strong labor ally Dan Erhart. Erhart lost his re-election contest for the District 7 seat in Coon Rapids to challenger Scott Schulte by only 645 votes out of 21,969 votes cast.

Over the years, Erhart was a leader in the development of the Northstar Commuter Rail Line and a champion for prevailing wage. “He will be dearly missed,” said Bill McCarthy, MRLF president.

In other Anoka County board races:

• MRLF-endorsed incumbent Carol LeDoux won re-election with 57.53 percent of the vote for the District 5 seat representing Coon Rapids;

• Alison Lister, endorsed by the MRLF, lost her challenge to incumbent Matt Look for the District 1 seat representing Ramsey;

• Ironworkers Local 512 member Dan Sanders, who was endorsed by the MRLF, lost his challenge to incumbent Robyn West for the District 3 seat representing Blaine.

The MRLF made no endorsement in the race for District 2 Anoka County Board, in which incumbent Andy Westerberg was defeated by challenger Julie Braastad.

The MRLF also made no endorsement in the race for District 6 Anoka County Board, which saw incumbent Rhonda Sivarajah easily win re-election.

Hennepin County Board

Two incumbent candidates endorsed by the MRLF for Hennepin County Commissioner won re-election: Randy Johnson in District 5 and Jan Callison in District 6.

MRLF-endorsed Linda Higgins won a special election for the vacant District 2 seat with 59.39 percent of the vote.

Wright County Board

The MRLF endorsed in only one of the five races for Wright County Board.

MRLF-endorsed incumbent Rose Thelen, who lost most of her old district as a result of re-districting, lost in a match-up with another incumbent, Pat Sawatzke.

Hennepin County Judge

The MRLF endorsed two candidates for Hennepin County judge.

MRLF-endorsed Steve Antolak lost in the race for 4th District Court 22 to Liz Cutter, who won 68.51 percent of the vote.

MRLF-endorsed Lois Conroy, an
AFSCME member, won in the race for 4th District Court 44 with 58.36 percent of the vote.

Three Rivers Park Board

Retired teacher Rick Theisen, an Education Minnesota member, lost his bid for the District 2 seat on the Three Rivers Park Board, polling 46.94 percent to winner Jennifer DeJournett’s 52.36 percent.

City Council races

The MRLF made endorsements in eight city council races in seven communities. Four of the MRLF endorsed candidates won and four lost.

Winning candidates included: Richard Swanson, Blaine City Council, Ward 1; Lin Myszkowski, Brooklyn Center City Council, At Large; Bob Barnette, Fridley City Council, At Large; Andy Hoffe, New Hope City Council, At Large.

Losing candidates included: Val Holthus, Andover City Council, At-Large; Renita Whicker, Brooklyn Center City Council, At Large; Dakota Huseby, Brooklyn Park City Council, Ward E; Roger Johnson, Coon Rapids City Council, At Large.

Minneapolis School Board

The MRLF endorsed in all four Minneapolis School Board races on the November 2012 ballot.

The most hotly-contested race was for District 4, representing downtown, Bryn Mawr and south Minneapolis. MRLF-endorsed Patty Wycoff lost, trailing Josh Reimnitz by 729 votes out of 23,973 votes cast.

MRLF-endorsed incumbent Carla Bates, running at large, won re-election with 72.93 percent of the vote.

MRLF-endorsed Kim Ellison ran unopposed in District 2 in north Minneapolis.

MRLF-endorsed Tracine Asberry ran unopposed in District 6 in southwest Minneapolis.

Osseo school levies: Both fail

Voters rejected two levy requests by the Osseo Area Schools (District 279). Question 1, an operating levy, lost 33,906-33,782 -— a margin of only 124 votes. The no vote means 200 school district jobs will be cut. Question 2, a technology levy, lost 34,752-32,461.


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