House 5B update: Election Day on the Iron Range

Today voters in House District 5B in northern Minnesota head to the polls to elect their next state representative, either DFLer Carly Melin, Republican Paul Jacobson or Independence Party candidate Cynthia Kafut-Hagen. The winner will replace former State Rep. Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) who resigned to become Commissioner of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation last month.

This special election, which included a packed DFL primary, has been conducted in about five weeks, consumed as much local and state political spending as a suburban swing district, and as Grandpa Simpson might say, sure did “angry up the blood.”

The most notable thing about the House 5B election that to me was how this was the first Iron Range election in my 15 years of local campaign participation and observation that became “state-itized.” The candidates were local, and may have started out with an all-local approach, but as the state Republican and then the state DFL parties ramped up their outside efforts the whole thing now has the feel of something a little alien to what most Range political observers would recognize. I’m not going to offer a prediction, other than to say that this is a heavily DFL district in which the Republican party spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailers in the belief that this wasn’t the case.

Look for the big Hibbing P10 and Hibbing P11 precincts to be somewhat close. If Melin holds off Jacobson here she’ll have won Hibbing. Look for Jacobson to win Fredenberg Township in the south which usually reports very early. If he doesn’t, or if it’s close, look for a big night for Melin. If Jacobson sweeps these precincts brew a pot of coffee.

Below, images from the two leading candidates’ Facebook pages:

 Melin with Hibbing Mayor Rick Cannata and U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

 U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8) with Paul Jacobson

I’ll be reporting returns from MinnesotaBrown World Headquarters in Balsam Township tonight. Like primary night I’ll have access to a network of poll watchers who will report back on key precincts, giving us a clear sense of who won rather early in the evening.


  1. This election seems so rushed. I don’t feel I know any of the candidates well. I’m unsure on so many issues, this leads to uninformed voting. Oh well, it’s voting day. Every time I see Al Franken and realize he’s our U.S. sen, I wonder about MN voters, first Jesse now Stuart Smally.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.