DFL endorses one incumbent, rejects another in Senate District 63

On June 8, the DFL party endorsed incumbent Sen. Jane Ranum for re-election in Senate District 63, while rejecting House District 63A colleague Mark Gleason. The Senate and House districts include Fulton, Lynnhurst, Kenny, Armatage and part of Windom.

Ranum, a Lynnhurst resident, was endorsed for re-election on the first ballot, defeating challenger Edwina Garcia, a former state representative from Richfield.

Ranum said that Garcia may run in the Sept. 10 primary. "We also hear that she said in a screening with labor that she would abide by the endorsement," Ranum said.

Garcia did not return calls for comment.

The primary winner will face GOP endorsee Vern Wilcox of Bloomington. Ranum’s district also encompasses Richfield and parts of Bloomington.

She said her priorities remain in education and in crime prevention.

DFLers also endorsed Minneapolis’s Paul Thissen for the 63A House seat over Richfield’s Gleason. Thissen, an attorney, has been a community activist and was campaign coordinator for wife Karen Wilson’s unsuccessful council campaign against Steve Minn in 1997.

Gleason, who failed in an bid for State Auditor endorsement earlier this year, said he has not made a final decision on whether to run in the September primary. He added that he is leaning against it and is looking for work in the private sector.

"I’m pretty frustrated right now," Gleason said. "Probably the best way to put it is I don’t think I’m going to run, but I haven’t thrown away my lawn signs yet."

This race is Thissen’s first as a candidate. His priority issues, he said, include early childhood education, clean lakes and streams and more efficient government.

"I do a lot of pro bono work as a lawyer and one of the frustrations [clients] have a lot of times is that federal and state government programs are inaccessible or they don’t understand them because they kind of grew up outside the system," Thissen said. "So I want to make that a priority."

Thissen faces a DFL primary challenge from Ron Lischeid, who was defeated in the endorsing convention’s first ballot. A service industry worker who lives in Richfield, Lischeid has been the Windom neighborhood board’s president.