More Duluth political intrigue

A few Minnesota politics notes to pass along:

Duluth Mayor Don Ness endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher in the DFL primary battle for governor. With Duluth’s state senator Yvonne Prettner Solon having joined Mark Dayton’s ticket, this demonstrates a pretty powerful counterpunch for Kelliher in the 8th, showing that she will contest this ground. She made a tour of the Range and Duluth this week and has promised to return soon. She has the support of several Range lawmakers, including her longtime right hand in the House leadership, Rep. Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm).

Speaking of that SD7 seat held by Prettner Solon, Rep. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) has filed for the office. City Councilor Patrick Boyle, who was recommended for the seat by Prettner Solon herself in her announcement speech, opted not to run and has endorsed Reinert. Looks like clear sailing for Reinert on the DFL side.

That will leave an opening in House district 7B, which includes West Duluth, the central hillside and downtown. I hear that Duluth City Councilor and former DFL party officer Kerry Gauthier is planning a run. I’ve also heard the name Sue Anderson and there are probably others. Internal DFL politics will probably play a role in this seat as a key decision over whether to endorse a candidate will need to be made before the August primary. Last time this happened — just two years ago — they had it out in the primary.

The Duluth wranglings also beg the question, who will the Republicans field for these seats? As it stands Rilla Debot Opelt has filed to run for SD7 and Travis Silvers has filed for HD7B. These aren’t very well known names. City councilor Jim Stauber is among the city’s most well known Republicans, but he hasn’t announced a run for either office. A GOP reader has suggested Chris Dahlberg, a St. Louis County commissioner, to me as another potential prominent Republican candidate. Both would face an uphill battle, but probably represent the party’s best hope to gain a foothold in this DFL town.

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