Someone I don’t even know emailed me this week to ask for my voting recommendations. Usually, I get a couple of family and friend calls on Election Day, but this is a first for me. So, here are my voting recommendations. A lot of my information comes from Naomi Kritzer, a writer who does careful research for every election and publishes it in a race-by-race analysis on her blog, Will Tell Stories for Food. Thanks, Naomi!
Top of the ballot this year has become very easy:
SENATE: Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith for Senate: again, pretty much a no-brainer in both races. In case you forgot, both are currently, and ably, representing Minnesota in the Senate. Klobuchar is running for another full term, and Smith is running to serve out the last year’s of Al Franken’s term.
Side note: Republican Karin Housley, who is running against Smith, ran an early ad saying she learned her values at the hockey rink and that her husband is a hockey All Star or something like that—as if Minnesotans are dumb enough to vote for someone because of her husband’s athletic past.
GOVERNOR: Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan for governor and lieutenant governor: hands down the best people for Minnesota. Besides their support of health care for all, living wage, outlawing private prisons, and a whole lot of other good platform points—they want to bring Minnesotans together. The Republican candidate has spouted anti-Semitic garbage and anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant racism.
Other Minnesota Statewide Offices:
Attorney General Keith Ellison: YES. Vote for Keith. You don’t have to believe he’s an angel in his personal life to know that he will be far and away the best attorney general of anyone on the ballot. His opponent, Republican Doug Wardlow, has made every possible appeal to racism and prejudice during this campaign, and has a lifelong career of attacks on LGBTQ people, starting with bullying a gay classmate back in high school and mocking the classmate for attempting suicide. Please, if you have the slightest doubt about voting for Keith, keep reading. Read Naomi’s lengthy post. Read the account of bullying that is corroborated by several high school classmates. Read about Wardlow’s pledge to fire every Democratic attorney in the Attorney General’s officeand replace them with Republicans. And vote for Keith Ellison.
Secretary of State Steve Simon:Just in case you forgot, this is the extremely important office that protects your right to vote.
State Auditor Julie Blaha:Keeping an eye on government finances
Minnesota Congressional races:
Vote DFL. Specifically:
District 1: Dan Feehan
District 2: Angie Craig
District 3: Dean Phillips
District 4: Betty McCollum (my representative for years, so I have followed her votes and actions closely, and I couldn’t imagine a better person to keep fighting for us in Washington.)
District 5: Ilhan Omar
District 6: Ian Todd
District 7: Colin Peterson
District 8: Joe Radinovich
Naomi’s advice is, “Just vote for the DFLer. This is a better state when the Democrats are running things.” I agree. In my district, that means I am enthusiastically supporting Kaoly Her.
Other important (and easy to overlook) races:
Ramsey County Sheriff: Jack SerierThe absolutely biggest reason to vote for Jack Serier (who is the current sheriff) is that his opponent is Bob Fletcher—who warns of terrorism danger in St. Paul and was previously known for the corrupt, violent, and now-abolished Metro Gang Strike Force, for his anti-protest actions at the 2008 RNC, his opposition to gay rights, and for a host of other problems. So—a vote for Serier is a vote against Fletcher.
Saint Paul School District Question: Yes Yes, I know I’m voting to raise my own property taxes, but I can’t think of a better reason to pay taxes than this.
Judges are always important
For the Supreme Court seat, incumbent Margaret Chutich is the clear choice (running against a truly awful opponent), and for the Court of Appeals, Judge Lucinda Ellen Jesson is also far and away the choice, over a completely undistinguished challenger.
In Ramsey County, I agree with most of Naomi’s recommendations, which are linked below.
2nd District Court, Judge 2: DeAnne Hilgers
2nd District Court, Judge 11: Naomi recommends Scott Flaherty, who sounds good, but I know Adam Yang is also very good. No matter which way the vote goes, we win a good judge.
2nd District Court, Judge 14: Robyn Millenacker
2nd District Court, Judge 20: Two candidates here, and this decision is a tough one. Naomi’s choice is probably Tony Atwal, despite his DUI. Atwal is the incumbent, and has lots of endorsements, despite his trying to pull a “I’m a judge, just let me go” when he was arrested for his second DUI on New Year’s Eve. That’s a big, fat red flag to me. On the other hand, Paul Yang doesn’t have much to show—not on his campaign website, and not anywhere else. Given a choice, I’d vote for someone other than either of these two, as I did in the primary. Probably the deciding factor: as a judge, Atwal has a good record. So it’s a good record and personal problems vs. no record.
2nd District Court, Judge 28: Elena Ostby
Other Ramsey and Hennepin County races
I’m just repeating Naomi’s recommendations here, because she has done the research, and done it well.
Ramsey County Attorney: John Choi
Ramsey County Commissioner, District 3: Trista MatasCastillo
Ramsey County Commissioner, District 5: Rafael Ortega
If you live across the border in Minneapolis, here are Naomi’s recommendations:
Hennepin County Commissioner, District 2: Irene Fernando
Hennepin County Commissioner, District 3: Marion Greene
Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4: Angela Conley
Hennepin County Sheriff: Dave Hutch (running against an incumbent who is proud of being a total Trump supporter and of working closely with ICE)
Hennepin County Attorney: Mark Haase
Minneapolis City Question regarding liquor licenses: Yes
Minneapolis School Board At-Large (vote for 2): Kimberly Caprini and Josh Pauly
Minneapolis School District Questions: Yes (to both)