County DFL looking ahead to 2020

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Mindy Kimmel, the former DFL candidate for the 16B State Representative seat, spoke at the Brown County DFL Convention Saturday. Kimmel said despite losing, the campaign was mostly a positive experience.

NEW ULM — The Brown County DFL Party elected officers and laid plans for 2020 at its annual convention Saturday at the New Ulm Public Library.

County DFL Chair Lori Sellner said the party had switched the convention to odd number years to allow newly elected officers time to learn the ropes in a non-elections.

All previous officers were re-elected including Sellner as Chair; Larry Czer as Vice Chair; Elia Bruggeman as Outreach officer; Mary Polta as Secretary and Jim Bodine as Treasurer.

The 2020 election cycle is expected to be big year both on the national and local level. Voter turnout in presidential elections is typically higher, but the 2018 election received higher than average voting for a midterm. In addition, Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District campaign between Jim Hagedorn (R) and Dan Feehan (D) came down to 1,300 votes. This is the second consecutive First District campaign decided by such a narrow margin. Based on those numbers, the State DFL is likely to focus more attention on the 1st District in 2020.

Czer said Brown County had the lowest support for Feehan. The delegates attending the convention believed Feehan’s presence was low in Brown County and recommended more campaigning here.

The local 16B State Representative race has also given hope for the local DFL party. New Ulm native Mindy Kimmel was defeated by Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), but Kimmel gained more attention than previous DFL candidates in this district.

Kimmel attended the convention and said she experienced more positives than negatives during her campaign. She acknowledged they did not accomplish the main goal of winning, but were able to reach a greater number of voters and achieved a higher funding percentile than previous campaigns for this seat.

Kimmel said her greatest success was in New Ulm, taking four of the eight precincts. However, Torkelson easily won in Sleepy Eye, Springfield and Redwood County precincts. A full breakdown of the election by precinct is available on the Secretary of State Website.

Kimmel said she has not ruled running again the 16-B Representative seat, but said she would need greater volunteer support in the Redwood County.

In 2020, the Minnesota Caucuses and Primaries will be organized differently. The Precinct caucuses will be held will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 25th with a separate presidential primary on Tuesday, March 3. Other offices will be on the August primary ballot.

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