As a lifelong Democrat, I am fed up with the political games of the DFL establishment (“DFL aims to discredit Painter,” Aug. 1). Recent actions by the Minnesota DFL establishment to weaken the primary field by disseminating lies about Richard Painter is appalling and apes the playbook smear tactics of President Donald Trump.

In these times we need more voices, not fewer, and efforts to silence opposition have frustrated voters for decades. Neither party establishment appears to want real change. I support Painter for the U.S. Senate because he is a nonpolitician who advocates for change and fighting corruption.

Kate Hunt, St. Paul

• • •

Tina Smith is the DFL-endorsed candidate in the U.S. Senate special election. Her financial disclosure form shows she owns med-tech stock even as she supports the repeal of a medical-device tax. Painter, her DFL challenger, serves on the audit and investment committees of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which funds a political network “overseen” by arch-conservative industrialist Charles Koch.

Where is the integrity of these people? How can Smith honestly legislate in the public interest when she holds investments in the corporations she must tax and regulate? How can Painter run as a Democrat when he simultaneously serves a foundation that funds Republican Koch-guided political organizations?

A lifelong Democrat, this whole thing disgusts me. The challenges we face — soaring inequality, serious threats to our democracy, systemic racism and climate change — are enormous and urgent. This is not the time for half-measures, led by politicians whose vision and integrity are compromised by financial and professional links with the very power structure we must change if this nation, and our planet, are to survive.

L. Hope Melton, Edina

• • •

I have to wonder just what the DFL stands for when its endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate tried to force the PolyMet land-exchange rider onto Minnesotans by attaching it to the national defense budget. The defeat of Smith’s rider was a victory for Minnesotans, protection of water quality in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the rule of law for all — that the law is not to be applied only if their candidate wishes it so. The PolyMet mine is partly owned by Glencore, under subpoena by the U.S. Department of Justice for money-laundering.

This is one of the many reasons I will be voting for Painter. I cannot vote for someone who is environmentally, at best, irresponsible. I question the DFL’s automatic and thoughtless endorsement and its rage at someone who has a better environmental record.

Stephanie Digby, St. Paul

• • •

A July 9 article (“Smith in tough fight to keep seat”) outlined where Smith, Painter and Republican-endorsed candidate Karin Housley stand in the race for U.S. senator. I believe the importance of this November’s election has become increasingly clear in the last few weeks. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement giving President Donald Trump a second pick for the Supreme Court, reproductive rights are truly at stake. Trump made it clear that he would only appoint justices who would overturn Roe, and he kept his promise with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Now it’s more important than ever that we elect senators who will stand up for reproductive rights. Smith’s background with Planned Parenthood makes her the perfect candidate.

As Smith was quoted as saying in the article, thousands of Minnesotans receive health care from Planned Parenthood. I am one of those Minnesotans. I will never forget the care and support I received at Planned Parenthood at a time when things felt so uncertain. After the 2016 election, I was worried I’d lose my access to birth control. I went to the Uptown Planned Parenthood clinic, where a nurse practitioner helped me find the right long-term birth control method for me at a cost I could afford. She went over everything I needed to know about each option and made me feel safe.

Reproductive rights are on the line this year. We need to elect someone who is committed to protecting them — and that’s why I will be voting for Smith.

Sarah Forschler, Minneapolis


Above all, vote. Otherwise …

Voting in the upcoming primaries is important for two main reasons:

First, because many of the races are competitive. “We the people” have the opportunity to select the candidates instead of serving as rubber stamps to the decisions made by several thousand activists.

Second, to prevent the cost of inevitability. We have seen too many races where many voters stayed home, not bothering to vote, expecting the “inevitable” candidate to win. The most recent example happened in New York when only 12 percent of the voters elected a newcomer, defeating an “inevitable” long-term congressman.

Last, we should beware of name recognition; we should learn as much as we can about all the candidates.

These are crucial times, and by participating we will also retain our nation’s highest voter turnout.

Hanna Hill, Plymouth

• • •

Here is my formula for eliminating candidates:

Any candidate who proposes new solutions for which the taxpayers foot the bill but who does not include a detailed plan with factual costs, who pays, how much they pay and for how long does not get my vote. If they don’t know or, worse, don’t care, I question their ability to lead.

Any candidate who touts “Minnesota values” does not get my vote. Whose Minnesota values are we talking about? I have lived here since my birth, and no one has asked me what my values are.

Any candidate who uses the term “deserve” in their messages. Whenever I tell myself I deserve something, it is usually to justify something I want but don’t really need and more often than not cannot afford. No vote.

Any candidate who uses hysteria in their messages. Hysteria causes people to forgo logical thinking when making rational decisions. For me, this tactic backfires. It makes me want to vote for the candidate at whom the hysteria is directed.

And finally the phrase, “moving forward.” This is a relative term. If you are driving a car and the back wheels are stuck in the mud, then moving forward is a good thing. If, however, your front wheels are hanging over a cliff, not so good.

It could be slim pickings if the first few weeks are any indication of what is to come.

Don Mussell, Eden Prairie

• • •

To all candidates: Another election cycle and the same old predictable blabber, sound bites and cliches used in so many previous elections. So you’re a fighter? You’re going to fight for us? Please remember, you aren’t just running for office to win. You are running to be leaders. Our leaders. So after you win you are going to walk into our schools and tell our kids the key to success is the fighting, while with the other sides of your mouths you pledge to tackle gang violence?

This disconnect is over the top and offensive. Even to yourselves. Did it ever dawn on you to just declare you are going to be a strong leader using common sense in order to bring all of us together? Or is your “fight” mantra going to continue? So in your pursuit of making life better, the divisiveness continues or gets even worse? Just where and how do you think our legislative gridlock originates? Only from the other side and not at all from yourselves? You all can do so much better than this. Can’t you? Won’t you?

Charles A. Lipkin, Golden Valley


Editor’s note: The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 14. Over the coming 10 days, Readers Write will feature letters discussing and endorsing candidates, primarily in contests of statewide interest. The deadline for submitting them is Thursday, Aug. 9. Meanwhile, over the coming week, the Star Tribune Editorial Board will be sharing its endorsements in the races for governor, attorney general, the Fifth Congressional District, the St. Paul City Council and the U.S. Senate. The endorsements are based on reporting and research by the board, including interviews with the candidates. Reporters and editors from the newsroom are not involved in these recommendations.