Photo: Ramsey County Attorney Candidate John Choi topped the DFL primary voting with 49.80 percent, and will go on to face second place candidate David Schultz (29.95 percent) in the general election.
By TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. (August 11, 2010) – The Primary Election Tuesday had an immeasurable long-term impact on the Asian community. For the first time since 1996 there will not be an Asian House Member of Senator in the State Legislature.
Ramsey County Attorney Candidate John Choi topped the DFL primary voting with 49.80 percent, and will go on to face second place candidate David Schultz (29.95 percent) in the general election.
Choi, the son of Korean immigrants, went on to graduate from St. Thomas Academy, Marquette University, and Hamline Law School. During his tenure as Saint Paul City Attorney, Choi was recognized as the 2009 top City Attorney in North America by his colleagues of the International Municipal Lawyers Association.
Choi stepped down as Saint Paul City Attorney to run for the new office.
State Senator Satveer Chaudhary has made a career out of winning underdog elections in mainstream communities, but the DFL candidate in the District 50 Senate Race will be former State Rep. Barbara J. Goodwin, who won soundly with 70.36 of the vote.
Chaudhary fought off allegations of a conflict of interest regarding an amendment to the Omnibus Game and Fish bill that affected a lake where he owns a cabin. The Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct accepted a written opinion that it was a mistake but did not make charges or state it was a conflict of interest.
Chaudhary became the first Asian American elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1996, and re-elected 1998. He won State Senate that would become District 50 after redistricting in 2000, and was re-elected twice in 2002 and 2006.
The District 67 Senate race will reverberate for some time with people wondering if one Hmong candidate could have collectively won a large enough base to outdo the DFL primary winner, John M. Harrington, the retired Saint Paul Police Chief who will now go on to face Independence candidate Dino Guerin and Republican candidate Krysia Weidell who ran unopposed in the primaries.
Harrington received 2,150 votes or 30.74 percent in a field of nine candidates. He distanced himself from the pack, including Indian American candidate, Avi Viswanathan (10.78 percent), Jim McGowan (9.41), Trayshana P. Thomas (4.06), and Tom Hilber (3.26).
However, the eyes were on the four Hmong DFL candidates, Chai Lee (11.49), Vang T. Lor (10.74), Foung Hawj Heu (10.24), and Cha Yang (9.29).
It would be easy to look at the math and speculate that one Hmong candidate could have won over enough of the community and outvoted Harrington, however, more than one of the candidates have already expressed that they would not look at the campaign as a Hmong only goal – and that it was about serving the east side.
There was one invitation-only candidates forum near the end of the campaign where, reportedly, some leaders had the idea of having three candidates drop out and doing a last minute campaign to rally behind one candidate. One candidate refused to attend and with media and more public attending, the meeting became a forum for the other three and any speculation on the single-candidate endorsement was never brought up.
State Rep. Cy Thao, who served as the Frogtown District 65A representative since 2002, and decided not to seek a fifth term. Rena Moran, a Parent Leader coordinator with Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, emerged as the DFL primary winner with 58.34 percent over Jeremiah Ellis. She will face Republican candidate Paul Holmgren, a store manager and board member of the Thomas/Dale District Seven Planning Council in the general election.
Around the state, Sankar Bandi placed third in a field of five candidates looking to be the top two that go on to the general election for the Rochester City Council Ward 5 seat. Bandi took 19.02 percent of the ballet but it wasn’t enough to overtake Shaun Palmer or Randy Staver, but he did outdo Jan Throndson and Renee Kragnes.
The race for Governor was or wasn’t a surprise depending which camp you were in. Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton got the help of greater Minnesota to earn 41.30 percent of the vote, enough to squeak by House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher with 39.79 percent. Matt Entenza came in a distant third with 18.21 percent.
The only minority candidate, Peter Idusogie won 3,118 votes for just under 1 percent.
Tom Emmer won the Republican primary handedly with 84.44 percent over Ole’ Savior, Leslie Davis and Bob Carney.
Tom Horner took the Independence party primary with 64.23 percent, over Rob Hahn, John T. Uldrich, Phil Ratte’ and Rahn V Workcuff.
The general elections will be held on November 2, 2010.