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Minneapolis 2014 Primary Sample Ballot

This Tuesday is a primary election in Minneapolis, and following my usual pattern, I’m posting my choices and reasoning publicly. Voting in the primary here is done on a single-party basis. You don’t have to be registered to a party to vote, but you can only vote for one party’s candidates on the partisan portion of the ballot, which covers everything but school board and the judiciary this year. I’m voting in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor category.

To find out where you vote and what will be on your ballot, go to the Secretary of State’s elections website. Give them your address, and they’ll show you who is running for all offices you’re eligible to vote on. Under the candidates will be one link to see a sample ballot (which may be easier to read) and one link for your polling place.

As always, I put my reasoning for my votes online for people who don’t have the resources or time to do their own. If my reasoning doesn’t match yours, at least you have some background. If you want to provide additional background in the comments, feel free.

U.S. Senator

X Al Franken–There are very few people I would prefer to have represent me as a senator. Franken isn’t perfect, but he’s very, very good.

Sandra Henningsgard–Not only am I happy with Franken as a senator, but his opponent, Sandra Henningsgard doesn’t appear to have even gone to the trouble to create a campaign page on Facebook, much less an actual campaign.

Governor & Lieutenant Governor

X Mark Dayton and Tina Smith–Again, I’m very happy with Mark Dayton as my governor. He’s been much more effective than I expected he would be after his performance as senator. The executive role seems to suit him.

Bill Dahn and James Vigliotti–If you’d like to gauge how serious Bill Dahn is as a candidate for governor, check out his campaign website. As far as I can tell, it’s the same website he put together to run for governor in 1998…and every office he’s run for since then. He hasn’t updated it since his run for mayor of Landfall, two years ago.

Leslie Davis and Gregory K. Soderberg–Dahn is perhaps the only candidate who could make Davis look like a serious candidate. Perpetual candidate Davis is running on a platform that includes “EMF awareness” and removing fluoride from our water.

Secretary of State

X Steve Simon–Simon is running on his record as Chair of the House Elections Committee, where he’s worked to maintain access to the ballot, and on continuing Mark Ritchie’s legacy. Even if he had serious competition, that would be worth quite a bit.

“Dick” Franson–I admit that I’ve never put together a successful campaign website, but even I can tell that you probably don’t want the top of your site to list all your unsuccessful prior campaigns.

Gregg A. Iverson–In 2013, Iverson ran for mayor with no campaign and no website. He’s doing the same again this year. I guess it’s a hobby?

State Auditor

X Rebecca Otto–Disclosure: I know Otto’s husband slightly, through science promotion work. Otto is in her second term as our state auditor. She expanded the scope of the job by…actually auditing. She’s won awards for her work.

Matt Entenza–Unlike most of the candidates running against endorsees this year, Entenza is a serious candidate. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the honesty I want in an auditor. This campaign, which Entenza has funded largely by himself, has also seen Entenza repeating misleading allegations against Otto even after an administrative law panel ruled against him. He’s also running on issues that are outside the job description of auditor, which is a pet peeve of mine.

Attorney General

X Lori Swanson–Swanson is running unopposed.

Minneapolis School Board Member at Large (vote for 2)

X Iris Altamirano–Altamirano had me worried at first, with talk of bringing kids to school ready to learn and strengthening communication between all stakeholders. I was concerned that this was code for blaming families in poverty for failures in school. I was wrong, however. Altamirano is talking about making sure schools can meet the challenges presented by the community. With her background in organizing, I think she’s in a strong position to make that happen.

X Rebecca Gagnon–Gagnon is a very busy board member. I’m particularly impressed with the fact that she’s worked to reduce suspensions based on the fact that they’re not evenly applied across races.

Ira Jourdain–Jourdain lists no educational, political, or management experience. He strikes me a someone who would make a great volunteer for the district. His ideas are good (though better articulated here than they are on his website), but we have other good candidates with stronger experience.

Doug Mann–Mann is a perpetual candidate and political gadfly. I think he pays attention to a lot of the right issues, but I can’t bring myself to treat him as a serious candidate. I’d also really like, since he’s touting his NAACP history in his campaigning, an endorsement from them or one of their leaders. He doesn’t have one.

Andrew Minck–Minck has withdrawn from the race.

Don Samuels–Samuels is a good politician who shares many of my concerns with education in general. The decision not to vote for him took a long time. However, it finally boiled down to the fact that calls for broad educational reform in this country have taken a heavy toll in recent years, with the burden falling on exactly the children Samuels wants to protect. I can’t find the specifics in his platform that would allow me to allay those fears, and the relative dearth of endorsements for Samuels doesn’t help.

Soren Sorenson–Sorenson is running as someone with IT experience, to the extent he’s running at all. No, really.

Fourth District Court, Judge 43

In general, when you have to vote for a judicial seat, vote for the incumbent. That won’t help you in this election, however, as there is no incumbent. There are also seven candidates.

X Paul Scoggin–Scoggin has very impressive credentials as a prosecutor and as someone who has served to shape both law and judiciary practice. His list of endorsements is very long indeed, though it’s heavily weighted toward law enforcement, which worries me somewhat in a judge. Still, there are plenty of non-prosecutor endorsements as well.

Daniel Cragg–Cragg seems to have broad competence, but in an election with candidates with much stronger endorsements, it’s hard not to feel he’s lacking something. I’d like to see more endorsements from judges, if nothing else.

Mark Gabriel Giancola–Giancola might make a good judge, but I don’t see him telling me why he should be the candidate we elect.

Brian Hagerty–Hagerty has spent the vast bulk of his career as a judicial clerk. That puts him closer to this position than some lawyers running for the seat. His list of endorsements is quite strong.

Jason T. Hutchison–Hutchison does not appear to be actively running for this office.

Glen A. Norton–Norton seems like a nice guy and a decent lawyer with a breadth of experience, but I don’t get a strong sense of why he should be a judge.

Bridget Ann Sullivan–Have I mentioned a good breadth of experience yet? Like Cragg, Sullivan has a strong background and good endorsements, but not the sort that compete well on this field.

Fourth District Court, Judge 61

There is no incumbent in this race either, joy of joys.

X Jean M. Brandl–Brandl appears to have a long history of making the judicial system accessible to everyone. She’s the only candidate I’ve seen this year with experience as both a prosecutor and a defender. She doesn’t have any judicial endorsements, but she does have endorsements from attorneys in a very wide variety of practices.

Beverly J. Aho–When Eric Paulson, who is as conservative as Michele Bachmann, endorses a judicial candidate, I look pretty hard at that candidate. When all of that candidate’s endorsements come from Republicans, I look elsewhere.

Steven E. Antolak–Antolak has decades of litigation experience, but no listed endorsements. I’d want to know why before voting for him.

Mark E. Arneson–Arneson doesn’t appear to be actively running for this office.

Amy Dawson–If I were voting for someone for a political office, my choice from these candidates would be Dawson. She’s done some amazing advocacy work. At the same time, that makes me just wary enough of voting for her to make her my second choice.

Comments

  1. Ira Jourdain says

    Hi Stephanie. I would like to address all 3. 1. I am nearing completion of my Business Management degree as well as my Paralegal certificate. 2. I have been a lifetime DFLer. I started literature dropping for House Rep Lyndon Carlson DFL-Crystal since I was 8 yrs old. and 3. Management Experience. I worked tirelessly for my tribe’s employment services program (that works with families in poverty, etc.) as the ES Director to transition from a State to a Federal tribal TANF program that deals specifically with issues related to Indian reservations across the United States. And lastly I have been a parent of MPS students since 2003 and have volunteered for countless events other than field trips as my now high-school age kids have attended Sullivan, Longfellow (now closed) Seward Montessori, and now South HS. That experience alone in the schools is only outdone by the impressive work of Rebecca Gagnon whom I am also supporting. And lastly I strongly encourage you to attend any of the Public Forums that will no doubt be held between now and November to form a even stronger opinion of the 4 candidates. Thank you.

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