Political season in full swing

A series of surprising events last weekend led to a crazy week for statewide offices in the state of Minnesota. Not so much in Ely, but the St. Louis County Commissioner seat sure did attract a crowd.
Two events of note happened at the DFL convention in Rochester.
Gubernatorial front runner Tim Walz realized he wasn’t going to get the endorsement and made a hallway deal with fellow candidate Rebecca Otto to stop Erin Murphy from getting the DFL stamp of approval.
Walz and Otto walked in to the convention hall together and called for a vote of “No endorsement.” This was stunning to some and alerted a group from northeast Minnesota to proclaim, “We have to let Becky Rom know about this.”
It’s no secret Otto was the preferred candidate for the anti-mining crowd. But her candidacy fell flat statewide and that showed through in Rochester. Figuring she had nothing to lose, Otto dropped in with Walz, a stunning development to some of her supporters.
The move failed and Murphy became the endorsed candidate for governor by the DFL party. Otto dropped her candidacy, leaving Walz to battle with Murphy in the August 14 primary. But there was more to come.
The other event was the shocking move by the DFL to not endorse Lori Swanson for attorney general, possibly due to a positive rating from the National Rifle Association. Swanson was looking to return for a fourth term, and likely would have won easily.
Instead the DFLers endorsed Matt Pelikan. They had no choice since Swanson dropped out of the endorsement race after getting 52 percent of the vote (she needed 60 percent) on the first ballot.
But Swanson had another bombshell to drop. She tapped U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan to run with her for governor. Nolan had flirted with running for governor a year ago but changed his mind and later decided to not run for his House seat.
He’ll play second fiddle to Swanson in the governor’s race. In typical Nolan fashion, he joked about the issue at a press conference saying Swanson challenged him to a trap shooting competition but knowing she was a better shot, he said she could take the top spot on the ticket.
With Pelikan being a true unknown, the floodgates opened for the attorney general seat. The biggest name? Current U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who like Nolan, will try to get a job in St. Paul instead of Washington.
Here in Ely, the city races turned out to be a snoozer. No one filed against Mayor Chuck Novak while current council members Al Forsman, Dan Forsman and Heidi Omerza face one challenger, Angela Campbell, who is also serving as Paul Kess’s campaign chair in his bid for county commissioner.
Kess is one of three Ely residents trying to win Tommy Rukavina’s seat. Paul McDonald and Mike Forsman Jr. are also in the race. They’l face Dan Manick of Cook, Christine Schlotec of Britt, Kristen Larsen of the Duluth area and Bernie Mettler of Embarrass.
One other local race to keep an eye on at this point, Lake County commissioner. Former Ely mayor Joe Baltich Jr. is challenging incumbent Pete Walsh for the part-time position. It’s been many years since we’ve had a Lake County commissioner from Fall Lake. We’ll see if enough people feel that needs to change.