House 5B update: Door to door at ten below

I received some reports from boots on the ground in the House 5B DFL primary campaigns this weekend. And when I say boots on the ground, I mean big, honking clod-hopper boots on the cold, hard ground. On a pair of days in which the temperature barely reached zero here on the Iron Range, candidates and volunteers knocked on doors in an environment better suited for storing whole beefs.

The Carly Melin and Shelley Robinson campaigns both shared details of door knocks in Hibbing, Chisholm and Floodwood. Melin held her first “meet and greet” event featuring Paul Metsa at Zimmy’s Saturday night where a lively crowd gathered. Robinson is riding high after a big week of endorsements from local officials and Iron Range icon Veda Ponikvar. Melin also won some endorsements, most notably one from one of my favorite local pols Hibbing City Clerk Pat Garrity who was quoted, “Our local cities and municipalities are going to need a strong advocate and friend. I believe that friend is Carly Melin.”

Melin’s campaign told me more endorsement news would be on the way this week. All the candidates screened before the Iron Range Labor Assembly on Wednesday but no endorsement was issued. There will be a candidate forum this upcoming Wednesday that I’ll explain in a future post. Rumblings of a District 5B DFL endorsing convention for Saturday, Jan. 29 are growing louder, but I have yet to receive formal notice. There will be more on all of this later in the week.

Melin will hold a fundraiser Monday evening from 5-7 p.m. at the Radisson in Duluth hosted by Duluth City Councilor and active DFLer Jeff Anderson.

Jeff Kletscher will hold a spaghetti fundraiser Thursday, Jan. 27 from 5-7 p.m. at the Mainline Station in Floodwood.

Robinson is holding a meet and greet at Zimmy’s in Hibbing on Thursday, Jan. 27 from 4-7 p.m.

Melin and Robinson were up in the Hibbing Daily Tribune Sunday edition with fairly large ads. Robinson’s stressed leadership and experience, touting policy positions. Melin’s stressed a campaign theme of “generations,” emphasizing her “next generation” message and Iron Range roots. Robinson will be launching a radio ad campaign this week as well. And Melin has actually opened a downtown headquarters. Both campaigns are running fairly busy Facebook presences where you can see and hear these things (Robinson and Melin). It’s hard to say who will win, but the campaign itself is proving to be a welcome form of economic development here in the first quarter.

In terms of raw campaign activity it’s clear that Robinson and Melin are setting the pace, and could fairly be called the front runners. Kletscher, Ray Pierce Jr. and particularly John Spanish are less visible, but to be fair this special election is such a strange thing that traditional campaign activities are only one indicator of success. Kletscher’s following in the southern portion of the district and Pierce’s connections to the local labor, music and car racing communities provide bases that wouldn’t necessarily show up on the radar.

I will continue to pass along news items from any campaign that sends them to me as time and space permit. On Monday, my guest commentaries for the candidates begin with Jeff Kletscher.

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