Boyle win in east Duluth previews 2014

Duluth newsDuluth city councilor Patrick Boyle defeated former city councilor Jim Stauber in the special election for St. Louis County District 2 Commissioner Tuesday. Turnout was low, but the nonpartisan result came pretty close to the partisan index of the district — with the liberal Boyle claiming 65 percent and the conservative Stauber winning 35 percent.

With the Boyle win now settled, the political eyes of east Duluth now turn to the House 7A contest, which features four DFLers and two Republicans seeking to replace retiring State Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth). Huntley won here by 40 points in 2012.

I’d argue the Boyle win in a very low turnout election shows that the overlapping State House district is safe DFL. (I hear Iron Range DFL chatter sometimes that “those rich people” in east Duluth might vote Republican; but I don’t think that accurately reflects the sociopolitical trend of the moment … Duluth, as a city, is becoming more liberal and higher income). I think a candidate like Donna Bergstrom could make things interesting for the GOP, but it remains to be seen what she’ll bring to the campaign, or if she can get past Duluth GOP party regular Becky Hall. (I don’t have announcement info on Hall yet).

The four DFLers are (alphabetically) Gary Anderson, Pete Johnson, Linda Krug and Jennifer Schultz. Politics in Minnesota is working on a story in which these candidates state their positions on whether they’ll stick with the party endorsement process or forge on to a primary.

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