June 06–As filings for Minnesota state offices closed, state Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, surprised political insiders by announcing his retirement after a 15-year career in the Legislature.
Vandeveer decided to retire Tuesday, June 5, less than a week after he had filed for re-election in Senate District 39. He said health considerations prompted his decision.
“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s (disease) in 2000, and my thought was I would serve until it started impacting my ability to serve my constituents. In the wake of a very grueling session, I decided that time has come,” he said.
With Vandeveer’s announcement, 47 state legislators have retired or decided to run for other offices since a court panel ordered a new redistricting map on Feb. 21. That means at least one-fourth of the 201 seats in the Legislature will change hands this fall, which would mark the largest turnover since 2002, the last redistricting year.
Republican Karin Housley of St. Mary’s Point quickly jumped in to fill Vandeveer’s vacant spot on the ballot. Less than two hours before filings closed, she rushed to the secretary of state’s office and filled out her election forms.
“I’m very excited and ready to go,” Housley said.
After narrowly losing a Senate race in 2010, she planned to run again this year — until the court panel drew new political boundaries that paired her in a district with Vandeveer.
Although she decided not to challenge him, she said, “I never closed
down my campaign. I don’t know why I didn’t. I had no idea this would happen.”
But she kept her campaign website and lawn signs just in case. “Now I start door knocking tomorrow,” she said.
Housley is running against former DFL state Rep. Julie Bunn of Lake Elmo.
But first she will face another Republican in the Aug. 14 primary. Eric Langness also filed at the last minute. According to his Facebook page, he is vice chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican executive committee and a former Forest Lake School Board member.
Vandeveer, 59, a real estate appraiser, said he was proud to be part of the new Republican majority, which inherited a $5 billion budget deficit when the party took control last year and turned it into a $1 billion surplus without raising taxes.
“I worked very hard to protect our personal freedoms and slow down the expansion of government,” he said.
Retirements will make it harder for Republicans to retain or expand on their 37-30 Senate majority. Eleven GOP senators are retiring, while only five Democratic-Farmer-Labor senators have called it quits.
But the GOP may have an edge in replacing those retirees because six House Republicans are running for the Senate, compared to three DFL House members. House incumbents usually are better known and have more political experience than first-time candidates.
In all, 16 Republican and 14 DFL members of the House are vacating their seats.
Filings ran from May 22 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Candidates have until Thursday to withdraw.
— More than 50 candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Legislature filed on the last day. The DFL and Republican parties recruited many of the 11th-hour filers to ensure that incumbents in the other party didn’t go unchallenged.
— One of the last-minute filers was Al Oertwig, a 20-year member of the St. Paul school board who resigned in 2007. He joins a crowded field of three other DFL candidates seeking the Senate District 67 seat being vacated by Sen. John Harrington. One Republican is also in that race.
“I think it’s important to have a candidate with a solid education background in that race,” Oertwig said.
— Four incumbent lawmakers are shoo-ins for re-election. Sen. Kathy Sheran, R-Mankato, and Reps. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder; Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska; and Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park, are unopposed, according to the secretary of state’s web site.
Freshman Sen. Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Center has a DFL primary challenger but no Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 election.
— Primary election day will be unusually busy. There will be contested races in 43 legislative districts, seven of the eight congressional districts and for the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is being challenged by three lesser-known candidates in the DFL primary, Republican-endorsed Senate candidate Kurt Bills faces two challengers in the GOP primary, and two other contenders are seeking the Independence Party nomination.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum has a plethora of rivals. The St. Paul DFLer has two primary opponents, a pair of Republican challengers and one from the IP.
U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, Keith Ellison, John Kline and Erik Paulsen also are being challenged in their parties’ primaries. The 7th District in western Minnesota is the only one without a primary contest.
— A couple of state House seats being vacated by veteran lawmakers have attracted large crowds of candidates. Three Republicans and two DFLers are running for the Moorhead-area seat that Rep. Morrie Lanning is giving up. Three DFLers and two Republicans are vying for Rep. Tom Rukavina’s Iron Range slot. And three DFLers and two Republicans are competing for an open Minneapolis House seat.
— The three Minnesota Supreme Court justices up for re-election this year are all being challenged. Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea and Justice David Stras each have two opponents. Dean Barkley, an Independence Party founder who was briefly an appointed U.S. senator, is running against Justice Barry Anderson.
MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE: WHO’S RUNNING THIS YEAR
Candidates seeking legislative offices had until Tuesday, June 5 to file. East metro races include:
SENATE DISTRICT 38
Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes
Timothy Henderson (DFL) Lino Lakes
HOUSE DISTRICT 38A
Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines
Pat Davern (DFL) Lino Lakes
HOUSE DISTRICT 38B
Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood
Greg Pariseau (DFL) White Bear Lake
SENATE DISTRICT 39
Karin Housley (R) St. Mary’s Point
Julie Bunn (DFL) Lake Elmo
Eric Langness (R) Forest Lake
HOUSE DISTRICT 39A
Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake
John E. Bruno (DFL) Lindstrom
HOUSE DISTRICT 39B
Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Lake Elmo
Tom Degree (DFL) Lake Elmo
SENATE DISTRICT 42
Rep. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada
April King (R) Shoreview
HOUSE DISTRICT 42A
Russ Bertsch (R) Arden Hills
Barb Yarusso (DFL) Shoreview
HOUSE DISTRICT 42B
Ken Rubenzer (R) Vadnais Heights
Jason “Ike” Isaacson (DFL) Shoreview
SENATE DISTRICT 43
Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood
Duane “Swede” Johnson (R) White Bear Lake
HOUSE DISTRICT 43A
Stacey Stout (R) Mahtomedi
Peter Fischer (DFL) Maplewood
Bob Hill (DFL) Mahtomedi
House District 43B
Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul
Kevin Kline (R) Maplewood
Bob Zick (R) North St. Paul
SENATE DISTRICT 51
Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan
Jim Carlson (DFL) Eagan
HOUSE DISTRICT 51A
Rep. Diane Anderson, R-Eagan
Sandra Masin, DFL, Eagan
Milton Walden, DFL, Burnsville
HOUSE DISTRICT 52B
Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan
Laurie Halverson, DFL, Eagan
SENATE DISTRICT 52
Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL- South St. Paul
Dwight Rabuse (R) Mendota Heights
HOUSE DISTRICT 52A
Joe Blum, R, West St. Paul
David Meisinger, R, West St. Paul
Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 52B
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights
Paul Tuschy (R) Inver Grove Heights
SENATE DISTRICT 53
Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Woodbury
Susan Kent (DFL) Woodbury
HOUSE DISTRICT 53A
Pam Cunningham, (R) Maplewood
JoAnn Ward (DFL) Woodbury
HOUSE DISTRICT 53B
Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury
Anne Marie Metzger (DFL)Woodbury
SENATE DISTRICT 54
Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL- Cottage Grove
Janis Quinlan (R) St. Paul Park
HOUSE DISTRICT 54A
Derrick Lehrke (R) Cottage Grove
Dan Schoen (DFL) St. Paul Park
Ron Lischeid (Independence) St. Paul Park
HOUSE DISTRICT 54B
Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings
Joanna Bayers (DFL) Hastings
SENATE DISTRICT 56
Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville
Leon Thurman (DFL) Burnsville
HOUSE DISTRICT 56A
Rep. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville
Dave John Jensen (DFL) Savage
HOUSE DISTRICT 56B
Roz Peterson (R) Lakeville
Will Morgan (DFL) Burnsville
SENATE DISTRICT 57
Pat Hall (R) Apple Valley
Greg Clausen (DFL) Apple Valley
Mike Germain (DFL) Apple Valley
HOUSE DISTRICT 57A
Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley
Roberta Gibbons (DFL) Apple Valley
HOUSE DISTRICT 57B
Anna Wills (R) Apple Valley
Jeff Wilfahrt (DFL) Rosemount
SENATE DISTRICT 58
Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville
Andrew Brobston (DFL) Hastings
HOUSE DISTRICT 58A
Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville
Colin Lee (DFL) Lakeville
HOUSE DISTRICT 58B
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington
Jim Arlt (DFL) Welch
SENATE DISTRICT 64
Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul
Alexander H. Jeffries (DFL), St. Paul
Sharon Anderson, R, St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 64A
Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul
Andrew Ojeda (R), St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 64B
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul
Brandon Carmack (R) St. Paul
SENATE DISTRICT 65
Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul
Marcus Walker (DFL) St. Paul
Tom Goldstein (DFL) St. Paul
Rick Karschnia (R) St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 65A
Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul
Daniel Lipp (R) St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 65B
Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul
Carlos Conway (R) St. Paul
SENATE DISTRICT 66
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville
Wayde Brooks (R) St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 66A
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul
Dave Thomas, (Independence) Roseville
Mark Fotsch (R) Roseville
HOUSE DISTRICT 66B
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul
Ben Blomgren (R) St. Paul
SENATE DISTRICT 67
Tom Dimond (DFL) St. Paul
Foung Hawj (DFL) St. Paul
Robert Humphrey (DFL) St. Paul
Al Oertwig (DFL) St. Paul
Mike Capistrant (R) St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 67A
Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul
Cathy Hennelly (R) St. Paul
HOUSE DISTRICT 67B
Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul
John Quinn (R) St. Paul