Minnesota House seats like one now represented by St. Paul DFL Rep. Michael Paymar don’t open up that often. Like many urban districts, it’s a safe haven for Democrats — and the sort of prize that is rarely put up for grabs. Paymar has represented House District 64B for 17 years, winning re-election with margins around 70 percent or higher in the last four cycles.
Fritz Knaak remembers tripling his billings at his law firm in 1992, the year the Republican state senator from White Bear Lake decided to retire from politics.
Two years ago Foung Hawj was an also-ran in the Senate District 67 contest. In a nine-candidate DFL primary field, he finished with 10 percent of the vote — more than 20 points behind the winner, former St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington.
Sen. John Harrington’s legislative career will come to a close after just two years. In 2010 the former St. Paul police chief easily won an eight-candidate DFL primary to replace retiring Sen. Mee Moua.
Harrington faced two challengers - former St. Paul City Council member Tom Dimond and activist Foung Hawj - for the endorsement Saturday. After four ballots, Harrington led Dimond 46 to 40 percent, no where near the 60 percent threshold needed to earn the party's endorsement.
Brad Rixmann likes to say he was dragged into politics “kicking and screaming.” Just five years ago, Rixmann, the founder and CEO of Pawn America had been at the Capitol only a few times as a child.
Sen. Steve Dille will probably not be bored when his 24 years at the Legislature officially come to an end next month. The first item on the 65-year-old Dassel Republican's post-Senate agenda is completing a biography of his grandfather.
A ferocious pushback by Education Minnesota cast the 70,000-member statewide teacher's union in the role of session bogeyman. The union and its head, Tom Dooher, fought the bill to a standstill in the end; it lost by a tight 68-65 margin in the House, and did not reach the floor in the Senate.
New faces fill seats previously held by Kelliher, Prettner Solon, Moua
Following Thao's retirement, district voters will send a new representative to the Legislature in November, and by all accounts that will be the DFL-backed candidate, Rena Moran.
Fourteen Republican state legislators, including gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer, received perfect ratings from Minnesota Majority for their voting records during the 2010 legislative session. Conversely, seven state senators, all Democrats, received zero ratings from the conservative advocacy group.
Chaudhary's primary loss made him the body's fifth departing chair
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