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It's election night in Minneapolis

Two special elections for legislative seats happen tonight in Minneapolis.
Two special elections for legislative seats happen tonight in Minneapolis.
Cleveland Leader

"Election 2012" doesn't just refer to November 6.

Ready or not, two Minnesota legislative seats, both in Minneapolis, are actually up for grabs tonight. One is House District 61B, which includes the south Minneapolis neighborhoods of Whittier, Lyndale, Kingfield, Central, Bryant, Regina, Field, and Powderhorn. The other is Senate District 59, which includes Northeast, the University of Minnesota area, Cedar-Riverside, Como, and Prospect Park.

How likely is a conservative to win in either of those areas? Put it this way -- I'd put my money on the Vikings to win the Super Bowl next year.

Both areas are bastions of liberality. In fact, the House election doesn't even include a GOP candidate, pitting DFL-endorsee Susan Allen against the similarly left-leaning Nathan Blumenshine, who is running as an independent "Respect" candidate.

Susan Allen could be Minnesota's first American Indian legislator.
Susan Allen could be Minnesota's first American Indian legislator.

Allen could be the state's first female American Indian legislator. The 48-year-old attorney  said during candidate forums that her experiences as a lesbian and growing up as a poor Native American will help her be sensitive to the full range of values in her community.

Blumenshine, 25, has made his opposition to the two-party system a cornerstone of his campaign. While his politics don't dramatically differ from Allen's, Blumenshine told the Star Tribune he's "running as an independent because I don't believe that we should divide ourselves into us and them."


Allen and Blumenshine are vying to replace now-Sen. Jeff Hayden, the former District 61B Representative who was elected to the State Senate in an October special election.

The Senate election actually involves a Republican, meaning voters can choose between the Coke and Pepsi of our two-party system.

Democrat Larry Pogemiller represented District 59 for three decades before he stepped down to become director of the Minnesota Officer of Higher Education, so chances are Democrat Kari Dziedzic will take tonight's election.

Dziedzic, 40, is the daughter of former longtime city councilman Walt Dziedzic. She currently works as a policy aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein.

Dziedzie: Like her father, a Minneapolis politician.
Dziedzie: Like her father, a Minneapolis politician.


Her website indicates that she isn't afraid to raise taxes for public works investment, is gay friendly, and wants to preserve Minnesota's natural environment from contamination. She writes that "job creation will be my top priority -- and a quality education is key to a good job."

Opposing her is

Schwanke: Young Republican hopes for Minneapolis miracle.
Schwanke: Young Republican hopes for Minneapolis miracle.


In any interview with the Minnesota Daily, Schwanke said his decision to enter a race of this magnitude at such an early age was a "snowball effect" from the GOP volunteer work he's done in recent years.

Unfortunately for him, in liberal Minneapolis, he has about a snowball's chance in hell of winning tonight. For the sake of his political future, he may want to consider a move to Edina. 


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