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Caucus night on Tuesday

Ely Echo - Staff Photo
Democrats at the 2022 caucuses raise their hands in support of an issue.

Republicans Democrats, to both convene in-person at Vermilion

by Tom Coombe

One of the first major events of an active year on the political front takes place this week.

Grassrots politics takes center stage in Ely, as well as across the state, with precinct caucuses.

Both major parties will gather in-person this year for their respective events at the Vermilion campus of Minnesota North college.

Gatherings for both Democrats and Republicans begin at 6:30 p.m. with registration for their respective events, with caucuses to convene at approximately 7 p.m.

Local caucus events mark the start of the political process including the initiatives that will make up the platforms of both major parties, and the selection of candidates for offices including the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Democrats who reside in Ely, Winton and townships including Morse and Unorganized 22 and 24 will gather in the theater, while those from Fall Lake have a separate caucus - also at Vermilion.

Republicans are slated to convene in a lecture hall at Vermilion, with those from St. Louis County and Fall Lake caucusing together.

The caucuses were impacted by the Covid pandemic two years ago, with only Republicans meeting in person while Democrats held a “contactless” caucus.

Even prior to the pandemic, caucus gatherings in Ely have generally been sparsely attended. One exception came in 2016 when the presidential race attracted hundreds who took part in straw polls.

By contrast in 2020, only 27 Republicans turned out from the entire  Ely area and the city of Ely DFL gathering attracted just 29 participants.

The grassroots events mark the start of an election year with attendees eligible to advance on as delegates to party nominating conventions at the district and state levels, and to submit resolutions for consideration for their respective party platforms.

The Democrat gathering in Ely is the next step prior to a county unit convention, which will also be held in Ely, at Vermilion, March 23.

Democrats sent a press release in advance of their events, which included locations for other caucuses in the region.

Those are:

• Babbitt Senior Center, 71 South Drive, Babbitt, (Babbitt Precinct and Unorganized Precinct 9);

• Cook Community Center, 510 Gopher Drive, Cook, (Beatty, Camp 5, Cook, Crane Lake, Field, Leiding, Linden Grove, Orr, Owens, Portage, Willow Valley Precincts and Unorganized precincts 11,12,13,19,21.) Southeast Koochiching Precinct, Koochiching County, will also meet at the Cook Community Center;

• Embarrass Town Hall, 7503 Lavender Rd, Embarrass, (Kugler Precinct, Waasa Precinct, Unorganized Precinct 20);

• Greenwood Township Offices, 3000 County Road 77, Tower, (Greenwood Precinct);

• Hoyt Lakes Arena, 102 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Hoyt Lakes, (Hoyt Lakes Precinct, Unorganized Precinct 6);

• Kabetogama Town Hall, 9707 Gamma Road, Kabetogama,(Kabetogama Precinct);

• Vermilion Country School, 1 Enterprise Dr, Tower, (Breitung, Eagles Nest, Tower Precincts);

• Vermilion Lake Town Hall, 5937 Wahlsten Road, Tower, MN (Vermilion Lake Precinct).

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