Is there any other Senate District in MN that has had as much turnover as SD67 on the East Side of St. Paul? First Mee Moua retired unexpectedly, setting off a wild primary in August 2010 with nearly a dozen candidates. John Harrington, former SPPD chief, won that primary and served the past 2 years, garnering both praise and criticism for his efforts.
Then this year, former city council member Tom Dimond challenged Harrington for the DFL endorsement, launching his surprise bid on caucus night and capitalizing on qualms about Harrington among DFL activists. Foung Hawj, who was one of the candidates in the primary 2 years ago, threw his hat into the ring shortly thereafter, setting up a wild and wooly SD convention this spring.
At that convention, Dimond and Harrington were neck and neck from the first ballot to the last, with Harrington narrowly leading each time. After the requisite number of ballots, and with no path to 60% for either candidate in sight, the convention voted for no endorsement. So we were set up for another interesting primary fight.
Then Tom Dimond sent a rather bitter letter to his supporters announcing that he would not run in the primary. Harrington looked like a cinch to win in August.
Then Sen. Harrington shocked the Eastside by announcing he would not seek reelection, claiming to be unable to deal with the illogical partisan atmosphere at the capital.
Now Tom Dimond has decided to jump back in, and Foung Hawj has been running hard this whole time, attending various Eastside events and introducing himself to voters.
The filing deadline is fast approaching (June 5), and so far, there are only these 2 candidates. But it doesn't seem unlikely that more will get in. Many Eastsiders, myself included, are clamoring for more and better choices than the ones we currently have.
One thing's for sure: there will be no DFL endorsement in this race. Before the convention adjourned, we voted to bar the Central Committee from endorsing before the primary. That decision looms large now, and raises the possibility of another crowded primary and a winner with a small percentage of the vote.
I know I have been checking the Sec. of State's page daily to see if any other candidates have filed:
Is there another SD that will have had 3 senators since 2010?