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Friday, January 07, 2011

Are you ready for Election 2011? St. Paul City Council, school board races gearing up

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Anonymous Pioneer Press said...

City council and school board races gearing up
By Dave Orrick
Updated: 01/06/2011 11:38:23 PM CST

There are no yard signs, no stump speeches and heck, the winners just got sworn in from the last election.

But make no mistake: The 2011 campaign season is starting in St. Paul.

With Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party precinct caucuses a month away, ballot designs for a new type of election being debated and a redrawing of the city's political boundaries mandated, conversations, planning and other sorts of political jockeying have begun.

On Nov. 8, all seven city council seats are up, as are four of the seven seats on the St. Paul school board. For the most part, incumbents are running.

But that isn't stopping the politically ambitious from testing the waters.

Last week, the school board announced that 41 (yes, 41) people had applied for the vacant position created by the resignation of Vallay Varro, who's moving on to lead an advocacy group. While the board has stated its preference for a steward to fill the spot and not run for election as an incumbent, members can't prevent that, and the field of office-seekers is chock-full with names of folks who have run for elected offices before.

And Thursday, John Mannillo, a familiar face in the landscape of St. Paul politics, announced his candidacy for the city council's 3rd Ward seat. City council member Pat Harris represents the ward, which includes Highland Park, and Harris is the only city council member who hasn't announced whether he'll run for re-election.

Harris has said he'll make an announcement shortly, but his indecision has fueled speculation —and action — in the ward. Activity has ranged from mere name-dropping banter in political circles to outright courtship by would-be power brokers for potential candidates for the potentially open seat.

Mannillo, an owner of downtown real estate and longtime member of the CapitolRiver Council, had been weighing a run since at least the gubernatorial recount, when he was spotted picking up campaign papers from Ramsey County elections offices.

In a letter to Harris delivered Wednesday, Mannillo noted Harris' indecision and stated: "With the precinct caucuses a month away, I must make my decision now. ... I have been advised that unless I move forward immediately, my campaign will suffer." In the letter, he asks for Harris' support.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous story continued said...

On the school board, Anne Carroll and Keith Hardy have said they'll both run for another term. Kazoua Kong-Thao hasn't yet made any announcement. School board directors are elected citywide.

Official campaign filing doesn't begin until May, but in the DFL-dominated capital city, many view the Democrats' precinct caucuses, scheduled for Feb. 8, as an essential proving ground. That's especially true in a non-mayoral year, where attendance is expected to be weak — and dominated by the party faithful.

Complicating matters this year is the advent of ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, or IRV. Under IRV, voters rank candidates in order of preference. Merely getting a plurality of voters' first-choice votes isn't good enough to win. The goal of IRV is that, by dropping out the least popular candidates and redistributing their votes to their supporters' second-choice candidates, the winner assembles a majority.

Such a system can hurt incumbents if challengers can persuade their supporters to pick other challengers as backup choices.

With as much as a third of the city traditionally voting Republican, divisiveness in the DFL ranks could help GOP candidates, especially since the DFL likely will advise its voters not to pick anyone after first choice. The city's GOP will hold precinct caucuses later this month and a convention to endorse school board candidates in early March.

IRV replaces the primary — but it only affects the city council. If enough candidates run for the four school board seats, the field will be winnowed in a primary that likely would draw low attendance.

Meanwhile, the St. Paul Charter Commission has some work to do.

City council wards need to be redrawn before the election as a result of the once-a-decade census. At a recent meeting of the commission, which is populated by Democrats, there seemed to be little appetite to significantly alter the city's seven ward boundaries, although small tweaks probably will be necessary to accommodate projected population changes.

The boundaries likely will have to be tweaked again in a year or two, after the state Legislature completes its similarly required redistricting of legislative districts.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me make my predictions.

The candidate pool for Saint Paul & the school board will resemble a bag of assholes, with all the good ones picked out.


Oh, and your taxes will go up.


6:15 PM  
Anonymous Sharon OptingOut Medicare_Humana said...

Opting Out of Medicare_Humana Insurance as it does not buy FOOD,
Sharon is Candidate v. David Thune and Lennie Anderson v. Kathly Lanty, Lantry has "taken" Lennies Homestead Credit Away stating he does not live there.

Lantry is Sec.Treas of Port Autnhority We should have their Books AUDITED.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPPS's very own "funny uncle", Al Oertwig is running again.

I really didn't need another item to prove that liberalism is a mental disease, but there it is.

4:07 PM  

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