As the dust slowly settles following the Fifth Congressional District endorsing convention, it looks like there will be five DFL candidates competing in the primary race to succeed U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.).
Along with DFL-endorsed candidate Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-58B), former Sabo aide Mike Erlandson, former state Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge, Minneapolis City Councilmember Paul Ostrow and peace activist Erik Thompson are still in the race for the Sept. 12 primary.
Erlandson - Sabo's former chief of staff who had the congressman's backing - announced his intention to continue in the primary race in late May on his website. He withdrew from the endorsing convention after giving his speech to delegates, reportedly attributing his decision to walk out to heckling from the members of the crowd who wanted to know whether he would abide by the endorsement.
Erlandson took several weeks to announce whether he would run in the primary, but said in his website announcement that he chose to “answer the calls” of his supporters and continue on in the race.
“I believe there should be an open and vigorous debate about the issues facing our community, state and nation. Each of us brings a different set of skills, experience, background, and themes in a year that is extremely important to Democrats,” Erlandson wrote on his site in his May 24 announcement.
On the same day Erlandson announced his intention to run in the primary, Reichgott Junge announced that she had raised $125,000 in the first 60 days of her campaign for Congress.
“I have a long list of financial supporters from my 18 years in the state Senate, and they are enthusiastic about my run for Congress,” Reichgott Junge said in a statement posted on her website.
Meanwhile, Ostrow has been busy renovating the 3,000-square-foot space that was formerly the home of Union Bar to use as a campaign headquarters. Ostrow said in a statement that the transformation of the “formerly graffiti-marred space” demonstrates the “energy and vibrancy of this campaign.” The campaign office is located at the corner of East Hennepin and Central avenues, one block north of the Aveda Institute.
Thompson, who lives in the state's Seventh Congressional District, has said he will continue running if he receives $10 - the maximum campaign contribution he is willing to accept from any individual - from 30,000 people by the end of June. Thompson said he's running in the Fifth Congressional District because “it is the only one which might want to send a single-minded antiwar representative to Congress.”
Sabo announced in March that he was retiring at the end of this term after 28 years in Congress. Although the Fifth Congressional District is regarded as one of the most Democratic Congressional districts in the country, three other parties have also endorsed candidates for the general election. The Republican Party endorsed Alan Fine, the Independence Party endorsed Tammy Lee and the Green Party endorsed Jay Pond.
Kari VanDerVeen can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4373