Hello readers. The Reader has been reviewing politics for the better part of two decades. As usual, we held an editorial board meeting to consider the candidates that one might find on the Duluth area ballot when they vote (sorry everywhere else). After several hours we came to some conclusions,

St. Louis County Board District 2

Linda Ross Sellner over Patrick Boyle

This was a close decision for the board. We won’t deny that Patrick Boyle is certainly a viable candidate. We found that Linda Ross Sellner is indeed qualified to handle the job. She comes from a humble background of being a low income mom raising four daughters, but her interests and official posts dealing with environmental issues made us feel that she is certainly qualified. With a past in the Duluth Environmental Advisory Council for two terms and being the President of the Duluth Public Utilities Commission highlight just a few of her positions.
As we mentioned, this was a close decision. Three to two in favor of Sellner. Boyle is a worthy candidate and we can’t ignore that. He has served as City Councilor and St. Louis County Board for a number of years. We have no doubt that both candidates can fill this spot and do a great job. Our decision was to spark new life into this position, with concerns that affect our Lake and environment, Sellner seems to have an edge that we’d like to see in play.  

St. Louis County Board District 3

Beth Olson over Jay Fosle

We can’t help but admire Jay Fosle for his dedicated service as a Duluth City Councilor. At times we felt that he’s been given a hard time and a raw deal in a few situations. He is certainly capable of handling this position and we will readily admit that. After some talk, most of the board decided on Beth Olson for our endorsement, although we will state there was some hesitation on the final decision. Taxi Driver, Kim McKay was mentioned in our talk about this race, but perhaps she’ll gain more support in the future on some other campaign.
Fosle filed for the position just minutes before the deadline of County Board. Sure, we often cut close on deadlines (like right now), but we’re not the ones making decisions for constituents, we just tirelessly work to inform them.  
We’re willing to give Olson a chance to make the area thrive. Her outlooks on economic development and infrastructure have good intentions and we believe that she will work to make the area a better place. We hope she doesn’t let us down.

MN House District 7A

Jennifer Schultz over Dylan Raddant

It didn’t take us long to come to a decision on this race. Dylan Raddant, or also known as Alexandria Jarvinia Rothschild, has some pretty interesting ideals on politics (s)he is a stocking clerk at Walmart with no real qualifications, but we were actually a little impressed by the depth in which Raddant looks at things. One thing that caught our eye was (s)he is the only candidate who brought up terrorism in the area. At only being a shade over 20 years old, we feel that this candidate might have some potential, but the way things go is going to college, contributing to other campaigns and causes, or perhaps many years in business, then after a certain amount of time and hard work does one have the experience and knowledge on how to cover an important career in politics.
What we found strange was Raddant’s Libertarian and Fiscal Conservative views where (s)he regards Ronald Reagan as a personal hero. If you’re even reading this, then it’s no big secret that Reagan was a Hollywood actor who did things like is union busting pile of shit who put countless people, including veterans, on the streets. We don’t get it, what type of person puts the hardworking backbone of America out on their asses? That mentality just confuses us.
In the end we just feel that Jennifer Schultz with a PhD in Economics and Health Policy and as a professor at UMD just might have the upper hand in this race. No dis on Raddant. Again, for someone not experienced, we have read issue statements from candidates that pale in comparison to Raddant’s views; a smart individual who should consider higher education and follow certain paths to be taken more seriously if this is what Raddant wants to do in life. For now, Schultz is an easy pick for this race.

MN House District 7B

Liz Olson over Cody Barringer

Who is Cody Barringer? We found a few things and this late comer into the race for House District 7B hasn’t really pushed themselves. Here’s the deal, if you think you’re worthy of making decisions that affect a large number of people, it’s called PR and hard work, a short spot in the Duluth New Tribune does not convince us to think, “wow, this guy has it going on.” Barringer has not worked at making his positions known, which might indicate that he might not care so much. We don’t know who Barringer’s friends are and honestly we don’t care if he can fly a plane. That’s cool, but irrelevant to holding public office. He performed poorly in the primary and doesn’t seem like the material we would like to see in office.
Liz Olson has plenty of we would like to see in a politician. Sure, we take these things with a grain of salt, but she has that drive to truly help people and make a difference. We’re hope we’re right. One of the board sided with Barringer.  

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice 6

Natalie Hudson over Michelle MacDonald

Michelle MacDonald is certainly a Justice that does deserve some respect. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is defender of the Constitution, and seems to be a fair and honest person overall. “She wants to eliminate over regulation of you, your family and your property by lawmakers.” That is indeed a beautiful thing to hear a person running for this position to say, but we’re not done. She states, “She Understands no one is above the law.” That sounds alright, but then she says that she’s “Pro Life,” We know this is a touchy issue, and no one exactly takes any joy in an abortion. However, this contradicts her former statement about wanting to eliminate regulation over “you.” If you’re a woman, then if you’re between a certain number of years, most of your life, then there is possibility of becoming pregnant. To say you don’t want regulation over people and then in turn state that you’d have a young woman die in some random room, that’s just hypocritical. A justice should recognize the existing laws in place and uphold them, be willing for change, but keep their own beliefs out of some decisions.  
In this case, we’re going with Natalie Hudson. Both women running for this position have honor and have the experience to serve the people in this role, but we felt that Hudson, as she states could “stand as a bastion of integrity, fairness, and independence.” It comes down to public trust. Inherently, no one is perfect and we felt that someone who cannot say that they will judge or feel a certain way on even one issue is not the person. Not to put ourselves above a person of such importance, a Judge shall be a blank slate and observe evidence or whatever becomes before them with no side motives. Hudson is the person we believe that given all the cases that she might see, will be the most fair overall.

Minnesota 8th Congressional District

Rick Nolan over Stewart Mills

Have you been on Youtube lately? Have you noticed some chick in a commercial named Ruth that says Nolan will let 100,000 Syrian refugees into Minnesota? That’s her main point on why not to elect him. We feel that there is some misunderstanding with what is happening in Syria and how we have affected that. We’re short on print here, but we caused this. People looking after the higher up corporate interests have a total hard on for war and for the last couple of decades, that’s resulted in several wars more over oil and territorial strategy more than us actually caring about taking out terrorists. Today, as you read this, we (The United States) are probably dealing terrorists some guns and then bombing some innocent civilians who have decided to stay in a war zone.
Mills rubs us the wrong way. It’s not that he had long hair or has had pictures of him on social media slamming a beer bong. We think he’s cool for that. No, it’s his smug “my dad owns a dealership” demeanor where it’s hard to look away from some of his misogynistic statements that disgust us. We like the Constitution and agree with 2nd Amendment Rights, but Stewart’s attitude is just concerning.
We all chose Nolan, but this isn’t to say that we haven’t noticed that Nolan has flip-flopped on the issue of sulfur mining at the hands of Polymet. He has welcomed a grave threat into the Northland. Yes, we understand money and jobs, but at the risk of the area’s most precious commodity? Stewart would have the same and in our book seems like the more reckless of the two. Mills Fleet Farm does have some pretty good deals on firearms, but that’s not enough for us to give him the thumbs up this time around.

Electoral College & The Presidential Debate

It may be safe to say that this is one of the most embarrassing, complicated, painful election cycles our country has seen in a long time, probably the worst of the century.
Probably the worst ever. Choosing who to endorse was definitely equally as terrifying and complicated for our Editorial Board. At this point we’ve literally discussed Pedro, the fictional character from Napoleon Dynamite; and Vermin Supreme, the eccentric candidate who has promised a free pony to every American if he wins. I want a pony. Before we talk about that though, we need to review some interesting possible outcomes.

If you were awake when they covered this in school (multiple times), you should know by now that our Presidents are not elected by popular citizen majority votes, but actually The Electoral College, which is made up of 538 Electors who vote as representative democracy. A Presidential Candidate has to receive at least 270 Electoral votes to be awarded the Presidency.

Each state has a variety of numbers of Electoral votes, based on population. The District of Columbia and 48 states have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. In these States, whichever candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, or a plurality of the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate), takes all of the state’s Electoral votes. Only Nebraska and Maine do not follow the winner-takes-all rule. In those states, there could be a split of Electoral votes among candidates through the state’s system for proportional allocation of votes.

If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes (which hasn’t happen since 1824, when there was a four way split during a time of major parties in our country dissolving and reorganizing - wouldn’t it be nice if we tried that again?), the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation or Senator would cast one vote in either case. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House. We find this possibility intriguing since the political climate in our country seems to want to break away from the two party system more than ever.

Donald Trump
No. Just no. Racist. Bigot. Fascist. Inexperienced pile of obnoxious egocentric garbage. ALSO kind of rapey. Wait, kind of?

Hillary Clinton
To be fair, one of our board voted her way. If we were in a swing state, we probably would be explicitly endorsing her. That being said, most of us are honestly a little scared, a little unsure if she is actually the ethically sound candidate she represents herself as? Also scandal and accusations of rigging Primary Elections against Bernie? FBI Investigation? There are plenty of reasons to have doubts. If the usual happens, and two party gridlock provides us with either Hillary or Trump winning their 270 delegates they want so desperately, we obviously want Hillary over Trump. Minnesota’s Electoral votes are almost guaranteed to go all blue, to Hillary, whether you vote for her or not (unless too many of you actually take our advice, still, super unlikely this is going to change in Minnesota).

Jill Stein
We like Jill. She stands with Standing Rock, environmentalism, and a variety of other issues we generally support at the Reader Weekly. We acknowledge she is a little flakey, and very unlikely to obtain enough Electoral votes to change the two party gridlock, but in states that are safely almost always blue, we actually like the idea of tossing your vote to her, or any third party for the sake of them receiving future financial support via qualifying for federal funding in future elections..

Bernie Sanders
Oh Bernie, come back. The one who got away. Our Obi-Won Kenobi. I think that makes Hillary our Darth Vader? Maybe he will return and help us later?  Anyway, the thing is, what is said above of Jill Stein is also true of Bernie, however he chose to endorse Hilary after the results of the Primaries were released. In other words, he did not run a “write-in campaign”. This means, despite tons of his supporters claiming, “Bernie or Bust”, in other words, dedicating to writing him in, no matter what, but after losing the Democratic Party’s endorsement, he urged his supports to vote Hilary to better block Trump. Honestly though, if Bernie even won the three Vermont Electoral votes (his home state he is a Senator of, where he has an extremely high approval rating), it could be enough to knock Hillary below 270, which would lead to Congress voting for the top three candidates who receive Electoral votes as described above. It’s super far fetched and extremely statistically improbable, but it’s technically not impossible for Bernie to still win. It should also be noted he’s not even registered as a write-in in all states, some require pre-registering and some don’t. Check your state before you write-in any candidate anywhere.

Evan McMullin
Who is that, right?  McMullin is an up and coming Republican, who decided to run as an Independent rather late in the game (Aug. 8, 2016), out of dissatisfaction with Trump. Can’t really blame him for that, but we’re still not jazzed about a right-leaning candidate. He is a former chief policy director of the GOP and former CIA. Apparently he is also on the ballot in at least 11 states, and claims on his website to be write-in-able in all other states.

Vermin Supreme
Ponies. Yes, every one gets a pony. What’s not to love about that? Is he sane? Probably not, but it’s certainly a nice thing to think about compared to this awful race.

The Decision
After considering our possibilities for several hours, our meeting went fairly smooth until it came down to the Presidential election. On the first vote we had two for Jill Stein, two for Hillary Clinton, and one just saying that people should consider any third party vote, not declaring any allegiance to either Stein, Gary Johnson, or Evan McMullin. One of the people who at first stated they’d go for Clinton changed their mind after we discussed that it is highly unlikely that Trump will win in Minnesota. So, we are looking at a Presidential race where we can’t stand behind either Hillary or Trump. There has been a major problem with Americans forced into squeezing their ideals into the perimeters of the two major parties, Democrat or Republican. This system is failing and while the tilt is towards Stein after our rather complicated decision, we’re just going to say that it’s time to break away from this nightmare and that other voices should be heard. Voices not as controlled by corporate interests with their hands down the pants of those on Wall Street, stroking them off on the tax payer dime. Someone who is under Federal investigation and someone who has stated disgusting things about women and immigrants and according to the Huffington Post, may be tried for raping a 13 year old leaves us mortified. You might have ideals of what the United States should be and are voting because you don’t like the other candidate or that your neighbor across the street posts something that makes you angry on Facebook. Step out of that. Just go with your heart.

The Editorial Board consisted of:

Bob Boone - Publisher and owner of the Reader. He has been informing the public about local news for over 19 years.

Paul Whyte - Staff writer of seven years with a knack for writing everything from a CD Review to more serious topics dealing with politics and social issues.

Jordan Bissell - The youngest of the group, but has assisted on both local and Minnesota political campaigns. She also happens to be the only female on the board.

Dr. Gary Kohls - A long time writer of politics and health related issues. He is a retired natural path doctor.

John Gilbert - A sports writer who has spent 30 years as a Star Tribune Journalist, 20 years WCCO, now with KDAL and, of course, a long time writer for The Reader. Gilbert is also on the North American Car of the year panel. He gets to test drive cool cars across the world.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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