Duluth paper endorses write-in candidate for state House seat

Jay Fosle

In the tumultuous state House District 7B race — where one candidate withdrew after a sex scandal and then the state Supreme Court put a replacement candidate on the ballot after the official deadline — the Duluth News Tribune has endorsed a write-in candidate.

The paper says Jay Fosle, a member of the Duluth City Council campaigning as an independent write-in candidate, would be best.

The race in Duluth was upended in August, when first-term DFLer Kerry Gauthier — who had the party’s endorsement for re-election — was stopped by Duluth police for after a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop. No charges were filed, but, at the urging of DFL officials, Gauthier agreed to withdraw from the race.

The DFL then endorsed firefighter Erik Simonson for the seat and a state Supreme Court ruling was needed to put his name on the ballot, because the deadline had already passed.

Republican Travis Silvers is also on the ballot.

The Duluth paper’s endorsement editorial says it has many questions about Simonson, the new DFLer on the ballot, including the candidate’s daughter’s claim that says she was abandoned by her father (although he says he paid child support), and “a ranting commentary [Simonson] wrote for Labor World News in March after the City Council voted for a needed and long-overdue update to the city’s civil service code.”

The paper isn’t excited about Silvers, either:

“Unfortunately, despite the Gauthier and Simonson messes, he has done little to win voter confidence and to sell himself as a leader. Also, despite coming off as a genuinely nice guy and a devoted family man, Silvers, at candidate forums and in public statements, has offered few specific or original ideas and hasn’t demonstrated a strong grasp of the issues and challenges facing his district or the state.”

So they recommend Fosle:

Fosle has leadership experience. He has served four years and nine months on the Duluth City Council, earning a reputation for his thoughtfulness and for being a fiscal watchdog. He’s chairman of the city’s Public Safety Committee and has served as a public utilities commissioner and as the past chairman of the Public Works Committee.

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