Primary Election coming
up Tuesday, August 14
Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 27, 2012
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MINNEAPOLIS — Voters statewide will go to the polls Tuesday, August 14 for the Primary Election, determining which local, state and federal candidates will advance to the November 6 general election. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In the Minneapolis area, several candidates endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO face Primary Election contests (see below).
The August 14 Primary Election will be the first election taking place with new precincts and new boundaries for local, state legislative, and congressional districts.
Your residence now may be in different districts since the last election — and your polling place may have changed. Visit http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/ to learn your polling place or contact your county elections office.
Click here for list of candidates endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation and Minnesota AFL-CIO.
MRLF endorsed candidates facing primaries
Steve Smith, District 33B
Incumbent Republican Steve Smith is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate in District 33B, which includes Mound and other communities around Lake Minnetonka.
A 22-year member of the Minnesota House, Smith will face off in the Republican primary with Cindy Pugh, co-founder of the Southwest Metro Tea Party, who earlier won the Republican endorsement.
Smith, an attorney, is a former member of two unions.
Smith has been a strong voice representing his conservative district effectively, while at the same time joining other Republicans who will support labor on issues like stopping the proposed “Right to Work” amendment.
Steve Smith website:
Hennepin County Commissioner:
Linda Higgins, District 2
The resignation of Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein created an open seat for the District 2 race, which attracted 10 candidates by the filing date.
Linda Higgins is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate in the race.
(The name of Don Samuels, Minneapolis city council member, will appear on the ballot but he has withdrawn from the race and has endorsed Higgins).
Higgins earlier this year announced she would not seek re-election to the Minnesota Senate, where she served 16 years representing north Minneapolis and downtown.
“I brought millions of dollars to the Senate District for various bonding projects in the area,” she said.
Higgins didn’t have plans to run for another office, she said, but then the District 2 Hennepin County seat became open.
“I’ve always been interested in the work that Hennepin County does — it’s very close to the people,” she said.
Unlike the recent partisan impasse at the state legislature, she noted, “there are only seven county commissioners and they seem to work together — at least publicly — in a very bi-partisan nature.”
“I’m looking forward to working with people who put their eye on a problem and just go do it,” she said.
“I think that the skills I have learned at the capitol will help in working at the county to make the best decisions for the taxpayers, clients, and employees of Hennepin County,” Higgins said.
The newly-drawn District 2 includes St. Anthony, north and northeast Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Medicine Lake and Plymouth.
Higgins also is endorsed by the DFL.
Linda Higgins website:
Hennepin County Judge:
Deborah Russell, 4th District Court 22
Hennepin County judgeships normally are filled by appointment, but this year the departure of incumbent Judge Deborah Hedlund has created an open seat and attracted four candidates to the race.
Deborah Russell is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate.
Russell has worked for nearly 20 years for the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, including most recently as a prosecutor.
She is a member of AFSCME Local 2938.
Russell was the prosecuting attorney in the high profile Amy Senser hit-and-run murder case, which recently resulted in a guilty verdict for vehicular criminal homicide. “There was a perception she might be able to buy her way out of a jam,” Russell noted. “In the end, the jury did their job in assessing the evidence.”
Russell also has worked for the Hennepin County Attorney in the juvenile division, child protection division, and, in an exchange with Ramsey County, in the public defenders office.
From 1998-2004 Russell served in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps, reaching the rank of captain and working with reservists and active duty soldiers.
“I think I’ve got a nice breadth of experience that goes beyond prosecuting cases,” Russell maintained.
“Coming from a union background puts you in a different perspective as a judge,” Russell added. “I’ve seen the struggles we’ve all had to go through for a decent salary and benefits.”
“Overall, my experience will help me and advise me in making fair decisions,” Russell said.
Deborah Russell website:
Coon Rapids City Council
Roger Johnson, At-Large
Roger Johnson is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate in the four-person race for the At-Large seat on the Coon Rapids City Council.
He also has been endorsed by the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council.
Johnson is a 38-year home owner in Coon Rapids. He offers a long and extensive record as a community volunteer serving with community organizations and local government advisory committees.
Johnson has been a union member for 56 years, including 40 years as a college teacher. He spent most of his teaching career at North Hennepin Community College.
Roger Johnson website:
Minneapolis School Board:
Carla Bates, At-Large
One-term incumbent Carla Bates is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate in the four-way race for an At-Large seat on the Minneapolis School Board.
She also is DFL-endorsed.
Bates has worked as a tutor for urban youth with the Upward Bound program, taught writing at the U of M’s General College, and served as a family advocate for PICA Head Start.
“Our city must seriously consider what it will take to improve achievement in the Minneapolis Public Schools over-all and specifically to close the racial and economic achievement gap,” Bates said.
Bates has three children who have attended the Minneapolis Public Schools.
Carla Bates website:
Wright County Board:
Rose Thelen is the AFL-CIO endorsed candidate for Wright County Board, District 2.
Thelen has served on the Wright County Board since winning election in 2008 to represent the former District 1. She currently serves as chair of the Wright County Board.
As a result of redistricting, Thelen now is running for the District 2 seat on the Wright County Board.
The new District 2 includes the townships of Clearwater, Silver Creek, Maple Lake and Monticello and the cities of Maple Lake, Clearwater and Monticello.
Thelen is a 17-year resident of Clearwater Township. She previously served two terms on the Clearwater Township Board.
“I am running for re-election because I believe I bring fresh ideas and a strong work ethic to the County Board,” Thelen said. “If elected, I am committed to making county government more efficient, reducing the burden on our property tax system, addressing ‘green acres‘ problems, increasing County government’s role in economic development efforts, and using exisiting resources to assure a stable and sustainable future for our citizens.”
Thelen faces four opponents in the August 14 Primary Election. The top two will advance to the General Election.
Rose Thelen website:
back to top