DFL Endorses Erik Simonson For MN District 7B Seat

By KBJR News 1

September 8, 2012 Updated Sep 8, 2012 at 7:40 PM CDT

(DULUTH,MN)---Erik Simonson, Duluth's Assistant Fire Chief has received the DFL Party endorsement for the Minnesota House District 7B seat.

He secured party support today by a 33 to 21 vote at a nominating convention.

A special meeting took place Saturday to endorse a candidate to take the place of Representative Kerry Gauthier.

Gauthier is no longer running for re–election after his campaign was derailed by news that he had engaged in sexual contact with a minor at a rest stop in Duluth.

"We had to with this rather late date, see about endorsing another candidate so someone is carrying the DFL banner into this house race," Debra Taylor, Duluth DFL Exec. Board Secretary, said.

About 70 delegates from district 7B attended the nomination convention.

"Erik Simonson was endorsed. We have a 60 percent rule that 60 percent of the delegates present on the floor need to agree on a candidate and we were able to, on the first ballot, get Erik 60 percent. So he is now the DFLer running house race 7B," Taylor said.

"It's a huge day for us, it's a huge day for this campaign, and a great day for the DFL," Erik Simonson, Write-In Candidate, MN 7B, said.

Assistant Duluth Fire Chief Simonson says Representative Gauthier was a great advocate for Duluth.

"On so many issues we are very similar," Simonson said.

In terms of party preference and the democratic platform, Simonson says their beliefs overlap.

"My entire campaign strategy is going to be about interacting with individual voters," Simonson said.

"We are going out this afternoon going out, hitting the streets, knocking on doors, and talking to voters and letting them know this is how you do a write–in ballot," Taylor said.

Erik Simonson's name will not be on the ballot, so those voting for Simonson will be required to write–in his name, with the correct spelling, in the space provided.

"I think it's great that he's taking the time to get out and meet people," Keely Youngbolm, a district 7B resident, said.

"He's got a committee setup, we're fundraising. He's going to be included on our phone bank, where we're calling on behalf of all of the democratic candidated from President Obama down to these local and state races," Taylor said.

Simonson received more votes than Julene Boe, the executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance, who was also seeking party support today.

Justin Reis, NNC. jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com