Category Archives: Elections&Politics

State, National, etc.

Post-election photos

Ray Cox (lost) and Tom Neuville (won) followed the election returns at Ray’s house last night, along with a group of their supporters. Oh, and their blog coach was invited, too. Click photos to enlarge.

Left: Ray with Greg Carlson, Carlson Capital Management, and former 25B House Representative John Tuma, now a lobbyist for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. Left center: Ray with NCO Board Member Chip Cuccio. Right center: Tom with his son Luke Neuville, and Ray with his daughter Diana Cox. Right: Ellen Cox giving her loser of a husband a hug.

I walked by the Contented Cow earlier this evening and saw this group having a post-election discussion. 

L to R: Archeopaleo owner Dean Kjerland, Bernie Street, House District 25B victor David Bly, Victor Summa, and Kiffi Summa. Victor narrowly lost the Ward 4 council race to Jon Denison.

Local results posted some of the local race results this morning, but here are some other of the area’s contested races:


School District Question 1
YES 6389
NO 5132

School District Question 2
YES 5963
NO 5481



Already reported on

State Senate
Tom Neuville: 16,730
Jessica Peterson: 15,500

State Representative
David Bly: 9,292
Ray Cox: 9,235

Rice County Board:
Galen Malecha: 2,041
Betsy Buckheit: 2,031

Northfield City Council: Ward 4
Jon Denison: 780
Victor Summa: 731

Northfield City Council: At Large
Noah Cashman: 3,655
Terry Gersemehl: 1,891

Vote today

See the elections page for all the details and links.

My voting scorecard:

Nonpartisan NOAH A. CASHMAN

School district referenda: Yes on both


Republican RAY COX


Nonpartisan MARK MURPHY

Constitutional Amendment (Transportation): Yes



Independence JOHN JAMES

Democratic-Farmer-Labor MARK RITCHIE


Democratic-Farmer-Labor COLEEN ROWLEY

KRLX to cover election returns live

Our favorite local radio station, KRLX 88.1 FM, is sending out a team of reporters tomorrow night to local election return hotspots — city hall, county courthouse, pubs, private parties — who’ll then phone-in their reports to the live broadcast throughout the evening. It all starts at 8 pm. See the details on the KRLX blog here.

I’ve been asked to be on the team as a Republican whore reporter covering the results from Ray Cox’s house.

Nov. 7, 6 am update: Dean Kjerland has a post on announcing that will be hosting an election returns event at the Contented Cow.

Nov. 7, 8 am update: Our MPR right sidebar widget will automatically update the statewide results every ten minutes.

Cabbage Heads Do the Politicians

bob_dylan.jpgWell…Griff and Tracy really wanted to do an election show. I was trying to avoid the challenge of adding something meaningful to the mix as well as the mud-slinging that seems to dominate so much of our national discussion of issues real or created. However, they got their way and we’re doing an election show this Monday afternoon.

At least we’re not doing another candidate debate. It seems that all the Democrats want to talk about is the War in Iraq and all the Republicans want to talk about is Gay Marriage. I don’t want to sound like I’m dismissing the thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis that have died or the importance of defending against a perceived threat to a cherished institution, but if I move straight to baseball in the morning paper, I can go days without thinking about Iraq and weeks without thinking about gays. However, there are some issues that have such a clear impact on my life that I can’t even make it to lunch without thinking about them. I’d rather talk about those issues.

So as Griff, Tracy and I have started preparing for this upcoming show, we’ve been asking each other “What are the key issues in the local, county and state contests?” To create a little grist for the mill, I’ll post my thoughts so far, hoping to stimulate a little reaction between now and Monday.

As most of you know, I spend most of my time in the thirty or so blocks that I call downtown. I think about the Library, the Liquor Store and the Post Office often. I hear about rising commercial taxes and see the crumbling curbs and sidewalks. I hear that we need a new City Hall and Safety Center and if we’re going to bond for those projects, let’s add a downtown parking structure while we’re at it. Then there are some people who want a YMCA, a new hockey rink or an artists’ building. Trying to conceive and implement all of these exciting projects is no small challenge.

Northfield spent the last year developing an Economic Development Plan. There are many solid, practical and useful steps outlined and our leaders are already moving forward on many of them. However, there is still some discussion on what should be our primary focus as we work to think and act strategically and even on how much focus is necessary or wise. Some of the possibilities are specialty trucking, smart manufacturing and medical technology. In addition, a number of people in the community are advocating for the inclusion of the creative sector. There is also on-going discussion on what our primary market should be: visiting tourists, senior citizens, or emerging professionals. Finally, there is a vigorous debate about where our capital investments should be placed: more conventional housing, our traditional downtown or a new business park. I’m not suggesting that it’s all an either/or question, but with the limits of our resources that we are constantly reminded of, some degree of focus will probably bring us more accomplishment.

Much of it can be packaged under “Quality of Life” and how it is shaped by our sense of place. As we begin to ponder this concept, we move to issues that are bigger than just Northfield. Education, the environment and transportation, although having powerful local impacts, are increasingly determined, at least in part, by forces beyond our city limits. Griff, Tracy and I have scratched our heads more than once as we’ve speculated on the county issues, but I think these three topics begin to define that sphere of influence.

With the levy on the ballot, and the school district encompassing more than just Northfield, and the State playing a constantly changing role in the funding, it’s obviously an issue that is bigger than a city council ward. The environment, protecting, enhancing, and enjoying it, without undermining economic development, is an issue that can only be addressed through the collaboration of leadership on many levels of government. It is perhaps a key opportunity for influence by our County Commissioners. In a, I think, related area of importance, transportation, once again significant accomplishment can only come through multi-level cooperation. Getting pedestrians safely across Highway 3 and commuters safely to Highway 35 require more than a City Council vote. So what are the key challenges and opportunities facing us in the areas of education, the environment and transportation over the next 3 to 5 years…and what are the visions of our, both local and regional, community and potential leaders for the next 10 to 20 years?

At the risk being simplistic, the State contests seem, at least to me, to come down to “how do we pay for?” education, the environment and transportation. And at this level, I’d also throw in health care as an important issue. Once again, we are reminded of the limits of our resources but I think most people would agree that quality education, transporation and health care are issues of great importance. If we could find agreement on what constitutes quality, cost-effective measurements of this quality, and a monitorable plan to achieve this quality, we could make real progress, including on a sustainable funding mechanism.

These are just my first thoughts. Of greatest interest for the upcoming show is making sure that we have identified and will be raising the priority issues for the local, county and state contests. So, please let us know before Monday afternoon. We truly appreciate it.

We Can Update Those Files Next Week – LWV Candidate Forum 10/28 and 11/2

Northfield’s LWV and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership are co-sponsoring two public events consisting of a candidate forum/moderated panel discussion. Candidates who have been invited to attend are are:

MN Senate District 36: Pat Pariseau, Carolyn Sampson
MN Senate District 25: Tom Neuville, Jessica Peterson
MN House District 36B: Pat Garofalo, Paul Hardt
MN House District 25B: David Bly, Ray Cox
Northfield City Council Ward 4: Jon Dennison, Victor Summa
Northfield City Council At-large: Noah Cashman, Terry Gersemehl
Rice County Commissioner District 2: Betsey Buckheit, Galen Malecha
Rice County Sheriff: Richard Cook, Mark Murphy

The Oct. 28 forum will be held 9:00a – noon at the Northfield Community Resource Center, and the Nov. 2 forum from 7:00p – 8:30p at City Hall. See the LWV weblog for more details

We’d like to know a little more about you for our files

10101614.jpgI’m really bugged that, to my knowledge, none of the candidates for any of our local races — Northfield City Council, Rice County Commissioner and Northfield School Board — have web sites, let alone blogs or podcasts. It forces us citizens to rely solely on A) the Northfield News; and B); face to face events to get better informed. Not

What year is this, 1997? What does this say about the degree of communication and transparency that they’ll exhibit should they win election? At some point, they’ll have to learn the one of the lessons of the blogosphere — blog or be blogged — and it most likely won’t be a good experience.

Laugh about it, shout about it, when you’ve got to choose. Every way you look at this you lose.

Select a candidate: we need a local version

Sean Hayford O’Leary IM’d me about this cool tool on MPR’s website: Select a candidate.

By answering a series of questions about major issues, you can quickly learn which candidates are most closely aligned with your views. You’ll be able to learn more about each candidate, hear his/her positions on many issues, and find out how your results compare with those of others who take the survey.

I liked it in part because it made the holes in my knowledge more apparent without anyone knowing about my cluelessness. Plus, it allows you to ‘weight’ an issue depending on how important it is to you.

I took the Governor quiz and was pleasantly surprised that Peter Hutchinson‘s views were mostly closely aligned with mine, since I intend to vote for him. I then took the U.S. Senate quiz, intending to vote for Amy Klobuchar and was more than a little surprised that my views were much more aligned with Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald.

I wonder what it would take to adapt this tool for the local races, eg, the Northfield City Council, Rice County Commissioner and (non-existent) School Board races? The League of Women Voters of Northfield should do something like this.