Duluth city council president Roger Reinert will announce his intention to run for the House 7B seat being vacated by longtime State Rep. Mike Jaros (DFL-Duluth), according to a political ally. Reinert will seek the DFL endorsement next month, according to fellow city councilor and DFLer Jeff Anderson.
The only other announced candidate for the DFL nomination is Brandon Clokey, who had intended to run against Jaros in the primary. Clokey is new to elected politics and has been incredibly quiet since his announcement in January and Jaros’s announcement yesterday. Until he organizes a public presence he faces an uphill fight.
Though Reinert seems to be the frontrunner based on his experience and strong political skill, there will be other candidates for the endorsement and primary. I just haven’t confirmed any of them. I am getting a list of people who live in 7B and might be considered potential candidates. One informant told me there may be some non-elected union people looking at the race. Another reminded me that former mayor Herb Bergson and mayoral candidate and businessman Charlie Bell (assuming he’s still DFL) live in that district. These guys are not popular with DFL activists but would be formidable primary candidates. I also heard the name Kerry Gauthier (former 8th CD DFL chair) and a host of other active party types who I don’t know very well. I need to find out more about them.
A DFL primary between an endorsed Roger Reinert and Herb Bergson or Charlie Bell in West Duluth is a true September smack down that you could sell tickets for. To nerds, anyway. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll probably see half a dozen names seeking that 7B DFL endorsement and two or three more for the primary.
Meantime, Allan Kehr is running for the GOP nomination. The DFL index in this district runs 3-1, though, so Kehr has his work cut out for him. He has shown the political instinct (or possesses the dumb luck) to get his name out there the same day as the Jaros retirement announcement, though. Reinert will have a huge advantage if he gets his name out as the first high profile DFL candidate.