Walz favored by DFL

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt More than 20 people from Ward 1, Precinct 2 in New Ulm alone (partially pictured above) showed up for the DFL caucus Tuesday at the Community Center. More than 80 people overall attended the caucus.

NEW ULM — For the second time in a row, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) caucus at the Community Center in New Ulm had a greater turnout than the Republican caucus.

On Tuesday night, a total of eighty people voted with the DFL, compared to 33 votes cast at the Republican caucus. Across Brown County, a total of 122 attended the DFL caucuses.

In New Ulm, a few DFL precinct tables were overflowing with participants. The Second Precinct of New Ulm’s First Ward alone had 21 voters.

“It’s great that we have to push two tables together for some of these precincts,” Tracie Denney said.

DFL Caucus Chair Larry Czer said the results of the 2016 election energized people to be involved in their local election.

Jim Bodine, the Brown County DFL treasurer, said the last political year had left many “stirred” and “alarmed” and likely brought DFLers out in high numbers.

DFL candidate for Minnesota House seat 16B Mindy Kimmel attended the caucus in New Ulm. Kimmel’s decision to run against Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) was directly linked to the 2016 election.

During a short campaign speech, Kimmel reminded the audience of her decision to run after the Women’s March in January 2016.

“Women need a seat at the table,” Kimmel said. She also called on the younger generation to lend their voice to politics.

Kimmel said her top campaign issue was healthcare. She said we need healthcare that works for everyone.

Healthcare was a top concern among the caucus-goers. Several of the precincts spoke about the need for single-payer healthcare.

Others, like Laurie Austvold, advocated for changes in Medicare that would allow patients to qualify for earlier payments.

Some of the younger caucus-goers supported caps to student debt or reduced college tuition.

The top question of the evening was which candidate the local DFLers supported for governor. By the end of the night, current U.S. First District Congressman Tim Walz was the party front runner.

Walz received 62 of 80 New Ulm votes. Candidate Erin Murphy received seven total votes; Rebecca Otto had five votes and Chris Coleman received four votes.

Walz was one of the few candidates to receive a campaign speech. Wendi Ringhoffer spoke on behalf of Walz.

“He is a champion for all people,” she said “and we need that now in this political climate.”

Ringhoffer believed Walz was the candidate to reach across the aisle and connect with people.

This was a sentiment shared by the majority of those voting in Brown County. Walz received a total of 95 votes in Brown County. Murphy was the second overall with seven votes. There were seven uncommitted votes as well.