Sleepy Duluth county board race holds quiet intrigue

Duluth newsThe special election to replace the late Steve O’Neil on the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners has been a mostly quiet affair. The eastern Duluth county board second district primary will be held a week from today, Nov. 5, and features four candidates, with two candidates already having suspended their campaigns from the last time I posted about this.

  • Former Grandma’s Marathon director Scott Keenan, an avowed independent.
  • Former City Councilor Jim Stauber, arguably the DFL-dominated city’s most prominent conservative
  • City Councilor Patrick Boyle, considered a rising star in the DFL who is auguring for the liberal support that powered O’Neil’s past victories
  • Community volunteer Cary Thompson Gilbert, making her first run for office after years of work on boards and commissions. She is also the only female candidate and married to longtime progressive Duluth politician Greg Gilbert.

Adam Jaros, son of former State Representative Mike Jaros, and Nick Patronas, have dropped out, though their names remain on the ballot.

In reading this Duluth News Tribune story it’s hard to say exactly how this primary could turn out, especially if turnout is low. Further, most people voting on Tuesday will be voting in higher profile city council and school board general election races. Based on past political experience, I’d put a small bet on Boyle and Stauber advancing. It would not shock me if Keenan or Thompson Gilbert sneaked in instead, though. It would surprise me if neither Boyle nor Stauber failed to advance.

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