Hakly plans House 6A write-in campaign

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Steven Hakly

Steven Hakly of Iron has announced the unusual decision to seek the District 6A House of Representatives seat as a write-in candidate.

Hakly, 59, is a union equipment operator and former Marine.

“I’ve put myself behind the 8 ball right off the bat A write-in candidate! What the hell am I thinking?” wrote Hakly in a statement on his website. “I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve gained or acquired in my life as a working taxpayer. This is where I live, it’s my turf and I will defend it, like I’ve defended our country and constitution. No excuses, my friends.”

Hakly told the Mesabi Daily News that he has typically voted for Democrats in the past, with occasional Republican votes. He’s running outside of political party this time because of his disgust with partisan politics.

“… Finding total fairness and in the absolute best interest of hardworking taxpayers is where I firmly stand,” said Hakly on his website. “The most critical matters of wasteful spending and creating jobs for 6A and 6B are my top priorities. Special interests, need to focus itself and center around the overall best interests – for all our citizens!”

Typically, write-in candidacies are conducted after filing has closed when it’s too late to get on the ballot. At this relatively early stage in the campaign Hakly could petition for ballot access as an independent and probably improve his chances.

DFL candidates in the 6A race include teacher Julie Sandstede of Hibbing, Steelworker Mark Larson of Chisholm, Nashwauk Mayor and business owner Ben DeNucci, car dealer Mike Thompson of Cherry, and former congressional aide Tom Whiteside of Hibbing.

Teacher Rob Farnsworth of Hibbing has been endorsed by the Republican Party.

State Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) announced earlier this year that should would not seek a fourth term in office. Last week she gave birth to her second child. She plans to focus on her law practice and family back in Hibbing for a time.

The most striking observation about the House 6A race so far is how it is being dominated by political newcomers. Typically, an open seat on the historically DFL-dominated Iron Range attracts half a dozen or more local officials or political insiders. While there is one mayor, DeNucci, and one political worker, Whiteside, even they are relatively new to politics.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming DFL endorsement process, it would appear that a contested DFL primary will happen. Thompson has vowed to run in the primary and Larson is considering it.

At this point it would difficult for me to say who is “ahead” in this race. The DFL endorsed-candidate will probably enjoy important organizational advantages in the DFL primary. But if the primary field is crowded, anything could happen.

As today’s announcement by Hakly shows, this race becomes more muddled by the day.

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