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Minnesota has voting and caucus

By Staff | Feb 16, 2020

OK folks, buckle up and get ready. The political election season has officially begun. I know, I know. You are all saying you thought it actually started a year ago. Democratic presidential hopefuls were making their announcements of their intent to run for office nearly every other day.

Like you, I have totally lost track of how many of them there actually were at one time. And, of course, many of them have dropped out already. Amazingly, our Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar is not one of those who has dropped out, or as many of them say, suspended their campaign. In fact, she seems to be gaining momentum and made a very strong showing in New Hampshire.

If she continues to make a decent showing in the next few primaries, then, whoa, she might be a “contenda.”

I feel a little bad that in my column last week I sort of made a snarky remark about her chances of ever becoming president. The remark had to do with her frequent visits to the Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention as a U.S. Senator, and if she would become president she would be the first U.S. President in modern times to come to the Minnesota Newspaper Convention.

I wrote that her becoming president was “a big, big long shot.” I think now I can remove one of those “bigs” and just say it is a big long shot. At best. But you never know…

That brings up the next point. This year Minnesota is going to have both a caucus (like Iowa) and a primary election (like New Hampshire). Yes, this is something new.

So, the primary presidential election is just what it says, an election to choose Minnesota Democrats and Republicans choices for candidates to be on the November ballot.

That election will be on what is called “Super Tuesday,” on March 3. It is called “Super” because many states will be holding their presidential primaries on that date and a lot of delegates will be chosen that day. Super Tuesday can make or break a candidate.

But, back to Minnesota.

The problem I have with the presidential primary here in our great state, is that when I go to vote, I have to ask for either a Republican ballot or a Democrat ballot.

I guess that part is OK. But then, the county is required to give my name to the political party whose ballot I asked for. That is not OK.

So maybe that works for those of you out there who are well known Democrats or Republicans. But for some of us, especially in the jobs we have (mine in particular) I would just as soon keep people thinking I am impartial. I also am not keen about getting letters asking for support of one political party or the other.

I understand this issue may go away by the time the next primary election rolls around. I?sure hope it does.

One more point. You can find the presidential primary sample ballots printed on page 13. You will note there is one name on the Republican ballot (Donald J. Trump) and 16 on the DFL ballot, if you count “uncommitted” as a name. Of course, several of those 16 names are candidates who have already quit.

Now on to another point.

In the past, one attended a caucus of the party of your choice and at that caucus you were given a vote on what presidential candidate you liked to have as your party’s choice to be on the ballot.

Some folks think that because this choosing a presidential candidate is being done by ballot on March 3, there won’t be any caucus this year.

But, that is wrong. There will be caucuses held on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The caucus is a time to discuss issues and for choosing local candidates, other than the presidential one.

People attending caucuses can also get elected to be a delegate to the conventions which will be held on the county, district and state levels.

As noted elsewhere in this issue, there are now four announced contenders to be the Republican endorsed candidate for the state House of Representatives District 23A seat being vacated by the retirement of long time legislator Bob Gunther.

That could turn out to be a very interesting contest to watch. And we have not even seen any announcement from a Democrat challenger other than Heather Klassen, the DFL candidate who ran against Gunther two years, saying she will not again this year.

Another interesting race for us to watch will the one for our First District Congressman, who currently is Republican Jim Hagedorn and who is already facing off against Democrat Dan Feehan for a second time.

And, last time it was very, very close.

We will, of course, have our own local elections this fall. However, that local political season is still a few months off before it officially starts.

Thank goodness!