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City Elections 2019: Use 'em or Lose 'em

While the leftie world spins out on 2020 (an election that's over a year away), the GOP does what it always does: Strategically and intelligently focuses on winning seats in city government. A key part of GOP strategy is their focus and determination around winning city seats (city councils, school boards), particularly in solid blue areas where it's hard to win seats that are higher-profile. Victories in these seats have real consequences – not only in setting the rules we all live by in our cities, but also as a launchpad for higher office.

There are amazing progressive candidates running, including a large number of progressive people of color and women, but they are largely running alone – unsupported, under-funded. This is not going to work if we want real change – both immediate and long-term.

City elections matter – a lot!

City Councils/School Boards:

  • Decide where the money/resources go

  • Oversee and police departments and implement reforms

  • Oversee education (!) in your city

  • Determine who wins contracts – do you want that awesome environmental garbage collector or a whole fleet of trucks? What kind of construction do you want going on? What kind of business partnerships and headquarters? Does your city award contracts to POC-owned businesses? If not, city councils can look at that depending on who is on the council. They can also block those conversations

  • Set goals and directions for cities through comprehensive planning: This effects everything from environmental practices and green initiatives to affordable housing.

  • Will determine whether they are a "sanctuary" city or not. Can direct Welcoming Statements and policing policy re. the undocumented - or block these efforts

  • A whole lot more!

Some highlights for city election 2019

Anoka School Board:

Did you know that the largest school district in Minnesota (Anoka-Hennepin) has been sued twice in the past decade for discrimination of LGBTQ kids? The area was so toxic to our children that earlier this decade public health officials declared the area a suicide contagion zone. After the consent degree of the previous law suit ran out in 2017, the same far right groups began petitioning the board and the district is once again being sued. The current board consists of three conservatives, two progressives, and one neutral member. We have a great candidate challenging the conservative chair. Winning that seat will turn the board to left-leaning and effectively end the influence far right groups have had on the board for decades. Get connected on FB at Erin for School Board or if you're not on FB connect at [Thanks to Kathryn Schwartz-Eckhardt for this blurb/info on the situation in Anoka County].


Bloomington has an open Mayor's seat - the current Mayor is not running for re-election. Candidates: Tim Busse (has a DFL resolution of support) and Ryan Kulka (who has full throated support of the GOP as well as two conservative PACs - Freedom Club and newly created Alliance for a Better Bloomington). The right is throwing money at the Mayor's race. Kulka has 8k in facebook ad spending, on ads that are misleading at best and flat out lies at worst in many cases. He is an open Trump supporter.

There's also an open at-large city council seat with progressive candidate Jenna Carter running. Bloomington currently has zero women on the Bloomington city council. Jenna is known for her advocacy for our opportunity housing ordinance and for our tenant protection ordinance. She has a background in public health policy and is a Humphrey Policy Fellow.

Goodhue County

Goodhue County is having a special election Nov 5th for county commissioner, district 1. Linda Flanders is running against Darwin Fox. Linda is running a progressive, culturally sensitive campaign which is important because almost all of the Prairie Island Native American community is within the county. The commission is 100% white and male right now.

St. Paul

Obviously the biggest city with elections this time is St. Paul. Here are school board candidates and here are city council candidates.

Next Steps

Click here to get familiar with what's going on in your city, and to see if anyone is up for office.

No city elections for you? IMPORTANT: Create a list of everyone you know in those areas, and make personal contact with them - email or call. DON'T assume they will vote. These elections come down to a handful of votes, usually well under a hundred. Your decision to reach out to an acqauintance or friend could make a huge difference!

Want to help with GOTV doorknocking for the final weekend before the election? Head to Two for Blue, a doorknocking group that is helping with City Elections and can help get you plugged in.

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