Are you going to skip the August 14 Primary elections? In my district, there are no legitimate DFL challenges. Yes, Amy Klobuchar has a couple challengers, but nobody who is a serious challenger. Mike Obermueller has no primary fight, nor do Andrew Brobston, Colin Lee or Jim Arlt. But there are a couple of important races.
There are six names on the ballot for Minnesota Supreme Court, three for Chief Justice and three for Associate Justice. In each race, the top two finishers will move onto the general election, and in each race there is an openly partisan candidate that in my opinion shouldn’t be allowed to compete in the general election.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is at stake here. The first contest features Pawlenty-appointed Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, who is being challenged by Jill Clark and Dan Griffith. It might seem logical to a DFLer to get rid of Chief Justice Gildea, a Pawlenty appointee, but Dan Griffith is the person I worry about. In 2010, Dan Griffen was endorsed by both the MN Republican Party and the Constitution Party, who advocates in its party platform to make homosexuality illegal. Griffith has appeared at fundraisers for Minnesota Tea Party events, including a chartered bus to attend Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in Washington (Griffith refutes this.) He is an evangelical Christian who told the Minnesota Family Council that he opposes court decisions that allow for public funding of abortion, prohibit school prayer and ban the posting of the Ten Commandments on public property, and he agrees with court cases that ban adoption by same-sex couples.
In the second race, for Associate Justice, another Pawlenty-appointed incumbent, Justice David Stras, is being challenged by Tim Tingelstad and Alan Nelson. Tingelstad advocates for inserting the “Word of God” into judicial decisions, never mind the Constitution. He is quoted as saying “It is particularly vital that a worldview, based upon the Truth of God and His Word, is returned to our highest courts” and “It is not unconstitutional to bring the Word of God back into public education.” In fact Alan Nelson is quoted as saying one reason he is running is “because Tim Tingelstad’s views on the separation of Church and State scare me.”
Both Dan Griffith and Tim Tinglestad can be stopped at the primary level, so we don’t have to worry about them in November. The concern on my part is that with all of the Republican primary contests, a lot of far-right activist who believe the separation of Church and State only applies to non-Christian religions, will be out in force, and these candidates may get a boost.
I for one will be voting for the other candidates, I hope you do the same.
I’d also like to add a plug for the Dakota County Commissioner Race in District 1. Maybe it is an anti-plug. Christy Jo Fogarty, who is a strong partisan Republican, is running for that Commissioner seat. Christy Jo is probably not the best candidate to represent the majority in District 1. I don’t know any of them very well, including Christy Jo, despite the fact that our kids have played sports together, but I met Mike Slavik, he seems pretty likeable and middle of the road. People on the right call him a “stealth Democrat,” that must mean he is pretty independent, so I will be voting for him, at least in the primary.
Every voter should be considering the impact that these heavily partisan candidates might have on our community, like Griffith and Tinglestad on the Supreme Court, and Fogerty on the Dakota County Board. The problem in politics is not partisanship, that has always been there, it is the extreme partisans with no ability to be open-minded that we unfortunately have been electing.
Notes: Thank you to MinnesotaCentral for information. A version of this is also posted at MN Progressive Project and a version was submitted to the Patch news network community blog.