Local voters send DFL candidates to Minnesota House, SenateDFL 11A House candidate Mike Sundin pulled in a total of 12,610 votes (nearly 64 percent) to Republican candidate Jim Putnam’s 5,931 and Independence Party candidate Cory Pylkka’s 1,164 votes. State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL) had 24,342 votes to Republican candidate Bill Saumer’s 13,505 votes.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Minnesota House District 11A candidate Mike Sundin started his day Tuesday at 5 a.m., standing outside Sappi in Cloquet as the shifts changed at the paper mill. The DFL candidate finished his campaigning the same way, some 12 hours later.
“Wednesday was dedicated to visibility and last-minute, get-out-the-vote efforts,” said a tired Sundin Tuesday night, grabbing a bite to eat at the Third Base Bar in Carlton where he held his election night gathering. “I’ve done these visibility efforts in the past and I’ve never seen so much civility. People were very kind, even when they weren’t supporting me. It can get nasty at times in Duluth, so I’m very proud of Carlton County and Duluth.”
Sundin’s campaigning paid off in a big way Tuesday, as he pulled in a total of 12,610 votes (nearly 64 percent) to Republican candidate Jim Putnam’s 5,931 and Independence Party candidate Cory Pylkka’s 1,164 votes.
Because House District 11A is a new legislative district created after redistricting (by a panel of judges) this spring, there was no incumbent in the race. The district includes all of Carlton County, along with two townships in northern Pine County and five townships in southern St. Louis County.
Sundin said he thought voters responded to his “key message” about restoring the Market Value Homestead Credit, which the state legislature abolished two years ago. As a result, many homeowners saw their property taxes go up nearly 7 percent last year even though the levy for the city of Cloquet was set at zero percent.
“I think people connected with that message,” the Esko resident said Tuesday night. “It’s a serious issue that I will pursue.”
Putnam, contacted by telephone Wednesday morning while he was out picking up yard signs, said he was disappointed with the loss and disappointed with the lack of support he got from the Republican Party as a whole.
Better party support could have made a difference, said Putnam, who is now free to finish his second term as mayor of Scanlon.
“I had very little support except for the last two months,” he said. “I was 90 percent of my campaign. Yes, I had some good helpers, but I feel that the Republican Party took me for granted and didn’t support me like they should have.”
When asked if he would run again, Putnam said that decision would have to wait.
“That depends how my opponent votes in St. Paul,” he said.
State Senate District 11
Area voters sent State Senator Tony Lourey back to St. Paul for a third term by a similar margin to the House race: the DFL candidate had 24,342 votes (64 percent) to Republican candidate Bill Saumer’s 13,505 votes (36 percent).
By Wednesday afternoon, Lourey was already in St. Paul, taking care of business.
The Kerrick resident – who lives on a farm around the corner from where he grew up – said he was “humbled by the opportunity to return to St. Paul and work for the betterment of the region and state.”
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s work that I do happily,” said Lourey, who returns to the Senate for another four years, following his previous four-year and two-year (because of redistricting) terms. “I hope everyone knows they can contact me with their issues and concerns and I will do my best.”