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DFLers endorse candidates for special elections in House Districts 14A, 19A

The DFL endorsed candidates for special elections in House Districts 14A and 19A at party conventions Saturday in St. Cloud and North Mankato.

14A

JoAnne Dorsher won the endorsement in District 14A, in a convention that was closed to the press. She was the only candidate nominated.

She'll face Republican Tama Theis and the Independence Party’s Todd McKee in the Feb. 12 special election to fill the seat vacated when Steve Gottwalt stepped down to take a lobbying job, after he'd won re-election in November.

A St. Cloud reporter was barred from covering the convention, even though DFL party rules call for open conventions, the St. Cloud Times said.

19A

In District 19A, Clark Johnson, student-relations coordinator at MSU-Mankato, was endorsed in District 19A, beating three challengers,  Robin Courrier, Karl Johnson and Tim Strand. All three said they would abide by the endorsement, but because of the late timing of the convention, all four candidates will be in a DFL primary election Jan. 29.

DFLers say they'll work to make sure Clark Johnson wins the primary. The winner will face Republican Allen Quist and Independence Party candidate Tim Gieseke on Feb. 12.

The New Ulm Journal wrote:

 As Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato) noted, the DFL will have to ... make sure the primary turnout is high to ensure no Republican "mischief" occurs in the election. While the district DFL leaders do not expect this scenario, closeness in names between the two Johnsons could lead to votes being ... spread out among candidates by low information voters.

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