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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Special Election Worth Watching

Steve Sviggum has stepped down from the legislature. There will be a special election on August 7 to fill his seat. Currently there are three names in the race.

Officially, there are three candidates who have filed for longtime state Rep. Steve Sviggum's House seat in southeastern Minnesota, but it's unknown as to whether one of them is really going to run.

There were three candidates when filing for the special election in House District 28B closed on Tuesday -- one Republican and two Democrats. If neither Democrat withdraws by 5 p.m. Wednesday, a primary election will be held July 24.

Democrats in the district on Monday night endorsed Linda Pfeilsticker of Wabasha. The other Democratic candidate who has filed for the House 28B seat is Wes Moreland of Pine Island. He was one of five candidates on the ballot at the endorsement convention, but he wasn't present and didn't get any votes.

Moreland, a retired teacher and longtime Democrat, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. His wife, Carol Moreland, said he was overseas and might drop out of the race because of Pfeilsticker's endorsement. At the endorsement convention, the DFL chairwoman said that Moreland doesn't plan to return home until days before the date the primary would be held, which is July 24.

The special election for Sviggum's seat is set for Aug. 7.

Sviggum, a Republican who presided over the House as speaker for eight years, is leaving the Legislature to become commissioner of labor and industry.

The Republican running is Steve Drazkowski of Wabasha, who beat four other contenders for the GOP endorsement at a party convention Monday. Drazkowski ran for state Senate last year and lost to incumbent DFL Sen. Steve Murphy of Red Wing.

Pfeilsticker, 35, has made greater state support for K-12 education a major plank in her campaign. She argues that the state needs to do more to make health care affordable because the federal government "is not doing anything."

Drazkowski, 42, has vowed to be a voice for conservative values. He has stressed that state government needs to live within its means and has promised to vote in favor of upholding GOP. Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto power.