ST. PETER Clark Johnson became the DFL candidate for the House District 19A special election on Tuesday in a decisive primary victory.
He received 641 votes, which was 66 percent of the total votes cast. He was one of four candidates to file, and he received the endorsement from the DFL party at its convention, After the convention, the other three candidates pledged their support to him.
Karl Johnson, who came in second at the endorsing convention, received 252 votes. He said he was not surprised by the votes given how well known he is in the area.
Karl Johnson said he knows the people who voted for him will not vote Republican, but he strongly fears they will refuse to vote in the Feb. 12 general election.
Clark Johnson, a member of the faculty at Minnesota State University, Mankato, said he is not concerned about DFL disunity, attributing Karl's votes his well-known name.
Other DFL candidates Tim Strand pulled in 51 votes and Robin Courrier pulled in 23 votes. The only hiccup of the night was the Kasota precinct's accidental reporting of former Rep. Terry Morrow's votes from the last general election, giving more than 500 votes to Strand. The mistake was discovered before the final poll count.
Meanwhile, Republican candidate Allen Quist and Independence candidate Tim Gieseke had no challengers. Quist received 105 votes, and Gieseke pulled in 55 votes.
Horner touts Gieseke
In other 19A news, 2010 Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner spoke on behalf of Gieseke at an Independence Party fundraiser in St. Peter.
Horner addressed a crowd of approximately 20 people, stating he supported Gieseke because he presented new ideas that could create meaningful change in Minnesota's government. He said people are wrong to assume one person from neither major party would not have a voice in the DFL majority. He said Gieseke can be heard by presenting the position that Gov. Mark Dayton's new proposals to increase various state taxes does not have to be only all of Dayton's plan or the Republican's position of nothing. He said Gieseke can also make a difference as a farmer making agricultural needs heard, since there are currently only nine legislators in the Minnesota Legislature with a farming background.
Horner criticizes Dayton
Horner criticized Dayton's tax proposals as the same ideas he presented in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, which Dayton criticized him for suggesting. But, he said he supported Dayton's efforts and said it takes courage to push the tough overhaul.
He said he hopes an in-between approach will be taken for the final tax bill. He objected strongly to Dayton's proposals of a business-to-business tax and to creating a fourth tax bracket of top earners, which he said limits the state's ability to attract talent. However, he supported expanding the sales tax to clothing. He objected to the $500 rebate to all Minnesota homeowners, saying it should be based on need and would just get cities and schools off the hook for raising their levy.
Horner did not rule out a 2014 run for governor, but said he needs to see the ability to raise serious money early in the campaign. He said an Independence candidate must define himself or herself early and move into at least second place to avoid fears of wasted votes as DFL and Republicans pull apart on positions. He said he is not interested in being the "Don Quixote of ideas."
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)