The Minnesota Supreme Court is being asked to overturn the St. Louis County Auditor’s refusal to replace a retiring Duluth representative’s name on the ballot with the new DFL endorsee.
The Minnesota DFL Party and Erik Simonson’s campaign filed a petition Friday to remove Rep. Kerry Gauthier's name from the ballot after he submitted an affidavit of withdrawal.
“Our primary concern in filing this petition is ensuring a fair election for the people of District 7B,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said. “In every other district in the state this fall, voters will have a chance to choose among candidates who are actively campaigning and who carry the endorsement of a major political party, and it should be no different in Duluth.”
Gauthier announced his retirement late in August after admitting he had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male at a Duluth rest stop. Gauthier told police he met the boy there after placing an ad on Craigslist. The boy told authorities he had lied and told Gauthier he was 18.
The revelations caused a major political headache for DFLers who are battling to win control of the Minnesota House.
Gauthier’s seat has been a reliable DFL stronghold for decades, but his surprise resignation left the party facing the possibility they wouldn’t be able to get his name off the ballot and give Republicans a sizable chance to capture the seat.
It is not certain there is a procedure to remove the names of legislative candidates from the ballot this late in the campaign.
“(We) are hopeful that the court will see fit to provide voters in District 7B with a fair election that allows them to choose among those endorsed candidates who are actually seeking their vote and prepared to serve if elected," Martin said.