6 legislative races to watch

  • Article by: RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2012 - 5:46 PM

 

REPUBLICAN

State senator District 33: Dave Osmek's race against state Rep. Connie Doepke, R-Orono, is one of three Republican legislative contests that could boot a sitting legislator for someone seen as more conservative. Doepke has a nod from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Osmek has GOP U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen on his side.

State senator District 47: The legislative career of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Julianne Ortman, of Chanhassen, is on the line Tuesday when she faces a conservative Republican challenger, Bruce Schwichtenberg. Neither candidate has the party's nod. Ortman has been campaigning hard and reminding Republicans unaccustomed to a primary that, yes, they must vote even though it is summer.

State representative District 33B: Tuesday could bring the end of Republican state Rep. Steve Smith's three-decade career. Republicans passed over Smith for endorsement in favor of Tea Party activist Cindy Pugh. The GOP is hammering Smith, saying he is guilty of "political backroom dealing"as a "warrior for left-wing labor groups." Smith says it is "heartbreaking" to have the party "come crashing down on me."

DEMOCRATIC

State representative District 6B: Three Democrats -- Lorrie Janatopoulos, Jason Metsa and Dave Meyer -- are vying to replace retiring Rep. Tom Rukavina, of Virginia. Rukavina is supporting Metsa, a local DFL operative, but his daughter is behind Janatopoulos. "I taught her to be an independent thinker," Rukavina said with a laugh.

State representative District 11B: The DFL voters of the Finlayson and Pine City area will be picking between Tim Faust, who represented the area before he was ousted by Republican Roger Crawford, and local Pine City planner Nathan Johnson. The winner will also face a primary-picked Republican winner; Crawford is not seeking a second term.

State senator District 17: The DFL candidates in Senate District 17, which includes Willmar, are familiar names on the ballot. Sen. Lyle Koenen will face Larry Rice, who ran against Republican Sen. Joe Gimse in 2010. New boundary maps put Koenen and Gimse in the same district for the 2012 election.

RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER

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