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Bill Hansen is endorsed by Duluth Mayor Ness in 3A race, but is attacked in Jobs Coalition radio ad

Hansen is one of four candidates competing in the Sept. 29 DFL primary. 

Bill Hansen was endorsed Wednesday by Duluth Mayor Don Ness in the state House District 3A DFL primary.

But word also came Wednesday that the Minnesota Jobs Coalition will run radio ads against Hansen, highlighting what they call his “radical environmental views.”

There will be no DFL endorsing convention before four candidates face off in the DFL Sept. 29 primary.

Hansen, who likely would have been favored if there had been a convention (and was the only candidate who said he’d abide by an endorsement), will run in the primary against Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund, International Falls businessman Eric Johnson (who ran as a Republican for the seat in 2014) and Ely City Councilor Heidi Omerza.

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The primary winner will face Republican Roger Skraba of Ely and independent Kelsey Johnson of rural St. Louis County in the Dec. 8 general election.

The election will fill the far northern Minnesota seat which became vacant when DFL state Rep. David Dill died last month.

Ness, who won’t seek a third term as Duluth mayor this year, said in a statement endorsing Hansen: “He is smart, hardworking, and he loves northern Minnesota. Bill would make a tremendous state legislator, he has my support.”

Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund President Mark Drake said while announcing the anti-Hansen radio ads:

“Bill Hansen has tried to campaign as a moderate but the reality is Hansen is the only candidate in District 3A who opposes mining projects like PolyMet. Hansen has twice been endorsed by DFL activists in the past and has been endorsed by liberal-environmentalist special interest groups.”