A voter returns his vote-by-mail ballot in the 2006 General elections in Lane County, Oregon. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
With election day only weeks away, the demand for absentee ballots among registered voters has increased significantly in Minnesota. We highly encourage you to vote in whatever way you’re most comfortable, But there’s still the matter of who you should vote for once you get your ballot. For the sake of simplifying your search, we’ve compiled a general overview of the prominent offices up for election this year and what options you have to fill them.
The most prominent seat up for election this year, it’s a given to note that Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump are on the ballot. There are a few more options than that, however.
Roque De La Fuente is running as the nominee of the Independence Alliance Party. He calls for the establishment of a universal single payer healthcare plan, investing in 100 percent clean and renewable energy, and raising the retirement age. He previously ran for president in 2016, as well as for mayor of New York City on the Republican ticket in 2017 and nine different U.S. Senate seats in 2018.
Howie Hawkins is running as the nominee of the Green Party, replacing Jill Stein who ran in 2016. His platform calls for the banning of fracking, public ownership and planning in energy, manufacturing and transportation, and 100 percent clean energy with zero-to-negative carbon emissions by 2030.
Kanye West is also on the presidential ballot with his VP pick Michelle Tidball, who is noted for describing herself as a “biblical life coach” and once said she doesn’t “watch news.” His platform calls for the elimination of federal sentencing guidelines, reducing household and student loan debt, and “restoring prayer in the classroom.” Every policy on Kanye’s website has a Bible passage under it.
Brock Pierce, a former child actor famous for his role in “The Mighty Ducks” (1992) is running as an independent. His platform calls for the legalization of cannabis, the creation of a Universal Earned Income, and ending the war on drugs.
Gloria La Riva is running as the nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation’ La Riva’s platform calls for the establishment of a public healthcare system and the cancellation of all student debt, expanding union participation, and replacing capitalism with a socialist system.
Alyson Kennedy is running as the nominee for the Socialist Workers Party; Kennedy doesn’t have a campaign website.
Jo Jorgensen is running as the nominee of the Libertarian Party. Her platform includes ending civil asset forfeiture, cutting government spending, and ending the department of education.
Minnesota, like all other states, has two senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. This year, Smith’s seat is up for reelection. Democratic senator Tina Smith is running as an incumbent in the upcoming election. This year, her opponent is Republican Jason Lewis.
Also on the ballot for Senator is Kevin O’Connor of the Legal Marijuana Now party and Oliver Steinberg of the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis party. O’Connor supports the medicinal use of cannabis and other plants. Steinberg supports abolishing the electoral college, ending the drug war, and ending corporate personhood.
U.S. Representative, District 6
The two candidates running for U.S. representative this year are Republican incumbent Tom Emmer and Democratic nominee Tawnja Zahradka. Emmer advocates for improving relations with Cuba, cutting government spending, and opposes a universal healthcare system. Zahradka believes in rejecting “right-to-work” legislation, supports Medicare for all, and opposes lifting safe water regulations. Minnesota has eight U.S. House of Representatives seats total.
State Senator District 14, State Representative District 14A
There are three candidates running for state senator in Senate District 14. Democratic candidate Aric Putnam supports legislation to decrease the cost of prescription drugs, legalize cannabis, and increase the availability of affordable housing. Republican incumbent Jerry Relph advocates for increased funding for schools, cutting middle class income taxes, and extending the Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud. Jaden Parlow of the Legal Marijuana Now party does not have a website.
Two candidates are running for state representative of district 14A, Democratic incumbent Dan Wolgamott and Republican nominee Paul Brandmire. Wolgamott advocates for reducing carbon emissions by expanding green energy, banning conversion therapy, and expanding earned sick time and paid family leave. Brandmire wants a smaller government and is running because he believes socialism will spread statewide if their aren’t conservative majorities in both the state house and senate.
Mayor of St. Cloud
The two candidates up for election as mayor this year are Incumbent Dave Kleis and Steven D. Schiller. Kleis has been mayor of St. Cloud since 2005, and his website touts his experience as mayor as well as his interest in new road and utility projects. Schiller wants to increase transparency in government and attract new manufacturing industries to St. Cloud.
Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
Incumbents are Arlyn Lawrentz for District 2, Kenneth Schefers for District 3, and Matthew Bruyette for District 4 are the only ones running for these positions.
St. Cloud City Council
There are three open seats on the city council and six people running. Candidates are George Hontos, Hassan Yussuf, Carol Lewis, Natalie Ratha, Jeff Goerger, and Buddy King.
ISD 742 School Board members
There are four positions open on the ISD 742 School Board and seven candidates running. Candidates are Shannon Haws, Scott Andreasen, Omar Abdullahi Podi, Al Dahlgren, Monica M. Segura-Schwartz, Andrea Preppernau, and Hani Omar-Jacobson.
Minnesota Supreme Court
Michelle MacDonald is challenging incumbent Paul Thissen for his position as associate justice. MacDonald’s website describes her as someone who will “Stop corruption, legal tyranny, and restore justice.” Thissen’s website describes him as someone who will expand access to justice to poor communities and communities of color.
Court of Appeals
Incumbents in the court of appeals are Carol Hooten, Randall J Slieter, Jeanne Cochran, and Kevin G. Ross are the only candidates running for this position.
7th District Court
7th District Court Incumbents include Jay D. Carlson, Matthew E. Engelking, Michelle W. Lawson, Andrew Pearson, Kevin M. Miller, Michelle L. Clark, Leonard A. Weiler, Sarah E. Hennesy, Robert Raupp, Doug Clark, Amber B. Gustafson, Michael S. Jesse, Mark J. Herzing, Tammy L. Merkins, Antoinette C. Wetzel, and Jade M. Rosenfeldt.
Brendan Janostin is a Mass Communications major with with a focus on Journalism and a minor in Political Science. Currently, he is the news editor of the University Chronicle. He enjoys fighting games, Star Trek, political analysis, and watching bad movies with his friends.