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State of the Races: Districts 51 & 57 (South Metro)

Posted: 09/18/12 18:37, Edited: 04/24/13 15:28

by Dave Mindeman

The South Metro legislative races are essentially a group of Democratic insurgent candidates running against a host of incumbent Republicans. The GOP has dominated this area with a few upsets in recent years.

This year, a few Democratic upsets might just be the ticket for swinging the legislature back into Democratic hands. But are there some possibilities?


All eyes are on Eagan once again (District 51). In the House, former DFLer Rep. Sandra Masin is running against Rep. Dianne Anderson in another rematch. Anderson is getting GOP House caucus help but her creditials as an incumbent are not stellar. This race has the potential to swing in either direction depending on mood and higher ticket performance.

In the other Eagan House race, Laurie Halvorson is taking on the tenther... the "right to work"er, the self-described "scholar", Rep. Doug Wardlow. Wardlow is a cocky and arrogant sort....which would make it all the more delightful if his over confidence would find its way to unemployment. Halvorson has been dubbed "one to watch" by Politics in Minnesota.

In the Eagan Senate seat, another rematch. Former DFL Senator Jim Carlson taking on the ethics challenged Sen. Ted Daley. Daley has been involved in some questionable antics at the Capitol building and mysterious push calls from a business group. Despite repeated attempts to have him explain these activities, Daley remains silent and local media seems reluctant to get into local politics. Carlson's campaign is well organized and has an experienced staff. This one is on the radar for both parties.

In Apple Valley/Rosemount there are some things brewing as well. Since Senator Chris Gerlach left the District 57 Senate seat under a cloud, this open seat has sincere potential for an upset. The Republicans named Pat Hall as their Senate candidate. Hall, a pastor, has been trying conciliatory rhetoric in recent weeks....stating that he will be a "voice for the impoverished".....an interesting thought coming from a Republican. He also mentioned his background as a pastor in Rosemount with a church that held the "Celebration Athletic Games" adding...."It?s events like this that Hall says helps build community".

It's unfortunate that one of his community building examples is a nasty split in that same Rosemount Church in which a large portion of the congregation left the church, Hall had a confrontation with the church bishop, and finally Hall had to leave that congregation and find another "flock".

Meanwhile DFLer Greg Clausen has been a well known member of the community for many years. He is retired, but was a long time principal in Rosemount and Apple Valley. Both cities know him well. In addition, he has been a solid fund raiser and has kept up with his GOP counter part dollar for dollar. High DFL potential here.

In the House races, redistricting has made some significant changes. On the 57A side DFLer Roberta Gibbons is taking on incumbent Rep. Tara Mack. Mack was a member of the committee that sent the Marriage Discrimination Amendment to the House floor on a 13-12 vote. Mack could have stopped it there, yet she voted for it and has never mentioned it to her constituents since. Gibbons has a stiff challenge but Mack's district is much more of an even partisan split than it used to be. A significant final push by the DFL could make a difference here.

On the 57B side, DFLer Jeff Wilfahrt was hoping to make a challenge to Kurt Bills who represented Rosemount. But Bills had Ron Paul visions in his head and opted to run against Amy Klobuchar in the Senate. A last minute scramble found Anna Wills as the GOP candidate here. She is Michele Benson's legislative assistant and has worked in the legislature for less than 2 years. Wilfahrt and Wills have been about even in fundraising and Jeff has a highly competent campaign organization that is giving this GOP leaning district a run for its money. The House caucus has taken notice. A nice Democratic wave would sweep this candidate in.

That's the state of the races in District 51 (Eagan) and District 57 (Apple Valley- Rosemount), Eagan is a battleground and Apple Valley-Rosemount has a red history, but blue potential.

2012 could make things interesting.
comments (4) permalink
09/19/12 11:26
In the Masin-Anderson race, we get mailers from various Republican fog-machines with information that is at best misleading (see http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2012/09/poligraph_gop_f.shtml ) if not outright lies and flat-out distortions.

But that is about ALL the representation people in 51A received since 2010 when Rep. Anderson took her seat. She has an office, she has been seen on some The Uptake videos, she was even in some meeting, but she does not talk to constituents (unless they agree with her and in lockstep with TeaParty ideals), she never replies to emails, phone calls, or make appointments to meet with constituents. Really - I thought the title was "representative" as in "represent"...

Who is representing? The tea Party? Or maybe it is the Romney people 1% with $$$ to spend on flyers full of lies?

09/18/12 20:01
Dave's predictions in 2010 didn't see the slaughter of the DFL slaughter. Same thing this year. None of the Democrats listed above will win this year. None.
09/18/12 19:19
Getting worried Kevin? Obama and Klobuchar might cause a sweep of everything this year. Keep laughing, Kevin.....while you can.
09/18/12 18:51
LOL, have any of your predictions ever come true?


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