MRLF helps win three out of five targeted races for House
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 18, 2016
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MINNEAPOLIS — In the 2016 election, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO targeted five races for Minnesota House and helped the labor-endorsed candidates win three of the five races.
Going in to the election, in a presidential year, hope ran high that a labor-friendly majority would regain control of the House. Instead, the Republican House caucus increased their majority to 75–57.
Here’s a rundown of the races targeted by the MRLF, in which the MRLF ran a union member to union member voter outreach effort with doorknocking, phone calls, and mailings.
House District 37A: First-time candidate Erin Koegel, who was labor and DFL-endorsed, won the open seat vacated by DFLer Jerry Newton, who ran for and won the Senate District 37 seat. Koegel won 9,485 votes, compared to 8,946 votes for Republican Anthony Wilder. A Libertarian candidate won 1,647 votes. Koegel is an AFSCME member.
House District 37B: This seat was open with the retirement of four-term incumbent Republican Tim Sanders. Susan Witt, a retired teacher, ran with labor and DFL endorsement and came close to a win: she earned 11,305 votes, trailing Republican Nolan West, who had 11,473 votes, by only a margin of 168 votes.
House District 44A: Ginny Klevorn ran with labor and DFL endorsement to take on five-term Republican Sarah Anderson. Klevorn won 11,433 votes, 2,053 votes behind Anderson, who won 13,486 votes.
House District 48A: this district in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka has been one of the state’s true swing districts, going back and forth in recent elections to DFLers or Republicans by very slim margins. Laurie Pryor ran with labor and DFL endorsement following the retirement of DFL Representative Yvonne Selcer. Pryor won the race with 12,984 votes, 874 votes ahead of Republican Mary Shapiro, who received 12,110 votes.
House District 50B: the November 8 election was a re-match between labor and DFL-endorsed Andrew Carlson and Republican Chad Anderson. In a special election February 9, 2016, Anderson beat Carlson by only 130 votes of 5,039 ballots cast. November 8, Carlson won 12,084–10,429, beating Anderson by 1,655 votes.
In House races in the MRLF’s jurisdiction, 25 of the 39 labor-endorsed House candidates won.
In a disappointing loss for labor, incumbent DFL District 49A Representative Ron Erhardt lost to Republican Dario Anselmo 13,075–12,499, a margin of 576 votes.