Primary gives school newcomers top marks

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September 20, 2004 // UPDATED 4:07 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

DFL mat endorse additional School Board candidate

Minneapolis primary voters narrowed a field of 16 School Board candidates to six, with two newcomers, DFL endorsees Lydia Lee and Peggy Flanagan, leading the pack.

Lee and Flanagan both received more than double the votes of the two incumbents, Sharon Henry-Blythe and Dennis Schapiro, who came in third and fourth, respectively, in the race for three open seats. In the Sept. 14 vote, former School Board member Sandra Miller and Republican- and Independence-backed David Dayhoff came in fifth and sixth, respectively, also making it to this fall's general election.

Lee, a former teacher, said she thought she would be in the top three but was surprised she led all vote getters. "It is a result of our hard work and grassroots efforts," she said. "It is going to be a tough job. I am up for it."

Schapiro said the results did not surprise him, given the weight DFL endorsements carry in Minneapolis. He noted the primary election had a very small turnout, and it would likely take 35,000-40,000 votes to win in the general election, instead of the 3,000-13,000 it took to win the primary.

"It should be an interesting campaign," he said. "I am looking forward to raising a lot of issues that might be fairly sensitive about schools and community development and race and class. It is a good group of people who made it through."

Minneapolis DFL convention delegates endorsed only two candidates for the three School Board seats this summer but the party's Central Committee will consider endorsing a third candidate Tuesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. at the Hennepin County Government Center's Jury Assembly Room, said Brian Melendez, Minneapolis DFL chair.

The Minneapolis School Board has seven directors who serve staggered four-year terms. The three seats up this year are held by Schapiro, Henry-Blythe -- who is African American and currently the Board's only member of color -- and Ross Taylor, who is not seeking reelection.

Melendez said the reason for the DFL to endorse a third candidate is obvious -- the party wants to help some candidates more than others. (The presence of Dayhoff, with GOP and Independence endorsement, might rally DFLers to fill their endorsed slate.)

However, some DFLers may oppose endorsing a third candidate if they feel it might hurt Lee or Flanagan. Further, Schapiro and Henry-Blythe both sought DFL endorsement. Party members might decide that if one of the two is going to win the third seat, the party doesn't need to take a side, Melendez said.

Voters will have the chance to hear from the candidates themselves at several upcoming candidate forums. So far, the only one Downtown is at Councilmember Lisa Goodman's regular "Lunch with Lisa," Wednesday, Sept. 22, noon-1:45 p.m. at Tiburon Bistro, 1201 Harmon Place in Loring Park.

The primary results for those candidates advancing to the general election were: Lee, 12,711 (24 percent); Flanagan, 11,925 (23 percent); Henry-Blythe, 5,844 (11 percent); Schapiro, 5,714 (11 percent); Miller, 3,730 (7 percent); Dayhoff, 2,905 (6 percent).

The results for the other candidates were: Mohamed Jibrell, 1,827 (3 percent); Lucky Rosenbloom, 1,520 (3 percent); David Donnelly, 1,367 (3 percent); Doug Mann, 1,130 (2 percent); John. T. Uldrich, 1,040 (2 percent).

Erik Nelson, 1,039 (2 percent); Jack Chisholm, 740 (1 percent); Ray Roybal, 586 (1 percent); John Starway 336 (1 percent) and Rahn V. Workcuff, 290 (1 percent).

Incumbent U.S. Cong. Martin Sabo easily defeated challenger Dick Franson as the DFL candidate for the 5th District Seat, which includes all of Minneapolis. Sabo received 23,046 (91 percent) to Franson's 2,264 votes (9 percent). Sabo will face Republican Daniel Mathias and Green Jay Pond in the general election. Mathias and Pond did not have primary challenges. Mathias received 5,840 votes and Pond received 665.

There were no primaries involving Downtown-area state House districts. The Nov. 2 general election features the following races:

House District 58B (covers Downtown north of 7th Street, as well as north Minneapolis): DFL incumbent Keith Ellison versus Republican Jay Cyril Mastrud.

House District 59B (covers the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood): DFL incumbent Phyllis Kahn, Independence Party candidate Ron Lischeid, Green Party endorsee Becki Smith and Republican Amanda Hutchings.

House District 60A (covers Downtown north of 7th Street, including all of Loring Park and Elliot Park): DFL incumbent Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Republican Tom Gromacki and Independence Party candidate Sigrid Hutcheson.