If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that I share my picks for each election and my reasons for my choices. That way, if you don’t have time to do the research yourself, but you know what issues or concerns we tend to agree on, you have someone who you might feel you can trust better than a campaign or a party.
Also, I’ve already done the work. So has my friend Naomi, whose picks you can find at her blog. If you have picks of your own, particularly covering other districts, feel free to add them in the comments. Giving reasons for those picks makes them more useful to others.
If you didn’t vote in the primary in August, you might not know that they have moved some polling places after redistricting. I don’t vote in the same place I voted in 2010. You may not either. Check at the Secretary of State’s polling place finder. This site will also give you a sample ballot for your district and links to candidate websites, where you see what they stand for.
Now for my choices. Some of these may be familiar from the primary.
U.S. President and Vice President: Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Why: Is Obama perfect? No. He’s not nearly progressive enough for my tastes. What he is not, however, is Mitt Romney. And Joe Biden is not Paul Ryan. Both of these are very important for the future of our country. If you still follow the “common sense” wisdom that Obama and Romney don’t have many differences, go read this. It will give you as many reasons as you need to choose one of them over another.
U.S. Senator: Amy Klobuchar
Why: Klobuchar isn’t my favorite senator, but that’s because I have the privilege of comparing her to Al Franken. She’s a moderate without being particularly centrist, and she concentrates on getting things done where she can find the political will. The third-party candidates don’t thrill me this year, but the Independence Party has put up a candidate who isn’t just a Republican-lite, and the Grassroots Party candidate (also endorsed by the Libertarians) has some things to say about issues that are not legalizing marijuana. If you’re inclined to support either of those parties, this might be a good year to reward them. Bills, Klobuchar’s Republican opponent, is a relative newcomer to politics and seems to have been the party’s choice because no one was going to beat Klobuchar anyway.
U.S. Representative: Keith Ellison
Why: I frequently list Ellison as one of the reasons I’m not jaded about politics. He works hard for progressive causes. He meets with, listens to, and educates his constituents. He uses his speaking platform eloquently and passionately to promote the public interest. Given any option at all, I’ll choose Ellison to represent me.
Also, his opponent is the kind of guy who says (paraphrasing), “Unions have been good for workers’ standards of living and job safety, but I don’t think we can afford that anymore.”
State Senator District 62: Jeff Hayden
Why: Not only has Hayden done a decent job, but his opponent appears to be a ghost. None of the places that collect candidate profiles have one for him. He doesn’t seem to have a campaign website or even a Facebook page. He isn’t even profiled on his party’s site. His interests and mine could match up perfectly, but this still wouldn’t be what I’d want in a representative.
State Representative District 62A: Karen Clark
Why: Clark has been representing my interests for a long time now. She’s done it very well. Her nominally Republican opponent can be found, but he’s a “Daoist Gnostic Rastafari Christ Imitator“. He’s promoting something called “Liquid Feedback”, which appears to be some theory about the physical states of power. I may not need to mention that he lists no political experience. (These are the experiences you miss if you don’t check out the people on your ballot!)
Constitutional Amendment 1: No
Why: I want to be able to vote, “I am insulted to be asked this question.” This is the proposal to amend the constitution of my state to make sure it continues to discriminate against my friends and relatives long after the political will to do so has evaporated. No and no and no and how dare you?! How dare you use our constitution make me miss more weddings because they have to be held out of state? How dare you use it to make my friends go through more legal hoops when their children are born just to be recognized as a parent? How dare you make them sign and file more paperwork and hope that when something goes wrong, their legal rights to be with the people they love or to have the people who care most about them in the world make their medical decisions won’t be trampled upon or ignored?
The legal definition of marriage in Minnesota already involves one man and one woman. If that changes, it will be because our society wants and needs it to change. You can’t stop that. You can only make sure more people get hurt before it happens. That’s all this amendment can or will do.
Constitutional Amendment 2: No
Why: The voter ID amendment is a bad piece of law-making created to solve a problem that hasn’t been demonstrated to exist, causing more problems along the way. I’ll just let one Republican and one Democratic governor of our state tell you why.
Governor Carlson: This Voter Restriction Amendment is way too costly.
Governor Dayton: And it would keep thousands of seniors from voting.
Governor Carlson: It would also cost local communities tens of millions of dollars just to start.
Governor Dayton: And it will make it harder for active duty military to vote, too.
Governor Carlson: Also, we’d have to create an entirely new elections system.
Governor Dayton: And it basically ends same-day registration.
Governor Carlson: If you’re a Democrat, Republican or Independent, please Vote No. This is not good for Minnesota.
Governor Dayton: Send it back to the legislature and make them get it right. Please Vote No.
They’re right on all of that.
Soil and Water Supervisor District 1: Eleonore Wesserle
Why: Wesserle is one of the few candidates for these seats with any relevant background apart from really liking living in a city with lakes. Wesserle has a degree in conservation biology and wants to help constituents understand what the board does and why. Her opponent, despite being on the board, has no contact information available anywhere.
Soil and Water Supervisor District 3: Brian Peterson
Why: Peterson doesn’t have a lot in the way of credentials, but he’s at least an outdoorsy type and a conservationist. His opponent is a “wife, mother and attorney” as well as “small-business owner” who wants to “seek a balance between good stewardship of our resources and excessive infringement on property rights.” What she doesn’t disclose is that she’s a Tea Partier. I have a sense of what she might consider “excessive infringement” that does not appeal to me.
Soil and Water Supervisor District 4: Richard Strong
Why: I really dislike a candidate who touts a “private-sector background” for a position like this. Also, Strong is an incumbent and both had contact information available and responded when Naomi was looking for more information. You can find her reasoning on these positions here.
Soil and Water Supervisor District 5: Danny Nadeau
Why: Nadeau is running unopposed.
Minneapolis School Board: Carla Bates
Why: Bates is the incumbent. She had far and away the best performance at the candidate forum held before the primaries. She presented specific plans for dealing with the district’s challenges.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice: Lorie Skjerven Gildea
Why: Gildea is the incumbent. As is fairly typical in high-profile Minnesota judicial elections, the challenger appears to be running, not to become a judge, but to provide himself a platform for talking about the process by which judges are appointed in Minnesota. Dan Griffith is an attorney, but he doesn’t have any experience as a judge in a lower court. Neither is he the sort of judicial scholar who might usefully substitute study for experience. He has, however, received Tea Party endorsements.
State Supreme Associate Justice 1: Barry Anderson
Why: Anderson is the incumbent, but he’s likely got very little name recognition compared to his opponent, Dean Barkley. Barkley is, first and foremost, about politics. He’s the guy who recruited Jesse Ventura to run for governor and was rewarded by an appointment to serve out the last days of Paul Wellstone’s Senate term when Wellstone died. I’m not thrilled that Barkley is touting his two months as Senator as a qualification for this position. It’s a completely different kind of job. He’s a lawyer, but otherwise I don’t see anything that tells me has what it takes to fill this seat.
State Supreme Associate Justice 4: David Stras
Why: Once again, Stras is the incumbent. He’s one of those justices who came from a background of scholarship instead of being a judge in a lower court first. Tim Tinglestad, who has a page dedicated to arguing against the current judicial understanding of the First Amendment, is terrifying. He’s also knowingly lying for Jesus. On the day of the primary, my husband contacted him about quoting George Washington out of context. Tinglestad agreed that the quote didn’t support what he’s using it to support. Two and a half months later, it’s unchanged.
Court of Appeals: Uncontested Seats
Why: There are no challengers and don’t appear to be any write-in campaigns to evaluate.
4th District Court 22 Judge: Liz Cutter
Why: There are no bad candidates running for this position. I chose Cutter for the breadth of her experience, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if Antolak were elected. Check them out for yourselves:
4th District Court 44 Judge: Lois Conroy
Why: Again, there are no bad candidates running for this position. I chose Conroy based on endorsements because they told me that, while both candidates share a passion for justice, her ideal of justice is more likely to look like mine. Check out both candidates. You may come to a different conclusion.
4th District Court 44 Judges: Uncontested Incumbents
Why: Again, there are no challengers and don’t appear to be any write-in campaigns to evaluate.
Saint Paul School Levy: Yes
Why: I don’t vote in Saint Paul. This will not be on my ballot. However, this is essentially a renewal of the prior levy with a very tiny increase. If this money falls out of the district’s budget, no one will be hopping up to replace it. It’s also in some danger of not passing simply because “Vote No!” has been a very prominent statement in the Twin Cities this election. “No” is for the constitutional amendments. “Yes” is for the levy.