Legislative endorsements bring changes, some surprises

Endorsing conventions over the weekend brought good news for some incumbents, bad news for others.

House Majority Leader Matt Dean got the Republican nod in the new District 38B, beating State Rep. Carol McFarlane, a three-term House member. Redistricting had thrown the two veterans together.

In Senate District 66, where DFL Sens. John Marty and Mary Jo McGuire were redistricted together, Marty won endorsement on the first ballot and McGuire said she’ll retire.

Republican colleagues faced each other in Senate District 31; first-term Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake got 60 percent of the votes to win on the fifth ballot over third-term Sen. Michael Jungbauer of East Bethel.

State Sen. John Harrington failed to get the DFL party endorsement in St. Paul’s District 67. The first-term senator, who had been St. Paul police chief, led on the final endorsing ballot 47 to 40 percent over former St. Paul City Council Member Tom Dimond, but failed to get the 60 percent needed for endorsement.

At the DFL Senate District 50 convention, Bloomington school board chair Melissa Halvorson Wiklund beat Sen. Ken Kelash of Minnapolis on the first ballot. Kelash had been placed in the same district as Sen. Scott Dibble, so he had decided to move and try to compete in District 50.

In District 41A, DFLers endorsed former State Rep. Connie Bernardy over the current House member, Rep. Tom Tillberry. Bernardy had been in the House from 2000 to 2006 but stepped down to pursue other professional opportunities and to spend more time with her family.

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