John Harrington, fresh off a six-year term as St. Paul’s police chief, easily won the DFL primary for an open state Senate seat on St. Paul’s East Side.
He won handily in a nine-person race in the heavily DFL district and will face off in the general election against Republican Krysia Weidell and Independence Party candidate Dino Guerin. Although he’s a former St. Paul City Council member and Ramsey County Board member, Guerin was forced out of office in 2000 when he served 15 days in jail and was fined for writing $35,000 in bad checks.
The DFL primary had so many candidates because incumbent Sen. Mee Moua announced after the legislative session ended in the spring that she wouldn’t seek re-election. She’d already been endorsed for another term by party leaders, who didn’t think there was time to reopen the process and threw it open to all comers.
Although Harrington was in the middle of the pack in fundraising, his name recognition carried him to a win by a surprisingly large margin — getting well more than twice the number of votes of second-place finisher Chai Lee.
And in the Ramsey County Attorney’s race — which is nonpartisan — former St. Paul City Attorney John Choi used his DFL endorsement and the support of many well-known politicians and legal officials to garner about 50 percent of the vote in a three-person race.
Also advancing to the general election to face Choi is well-known attorney David Schultz, who had 29 percent of the vote. Roseville City Council Member Tammy Pust, also a well-regarded attorney, finished third with 21 percent of the vote.