Incumbents successful, but face challenges next session

Tim Mahoney

Sheldon Johnson

Foung Hawj

John Lesch

John Marty

Betty McCollum

State senate and house will now both be Republican majority

In a whirlwind of an election, East Side legislative incumbents came out unscathed, but predict the upcoming session at the state Capitol will be a gridlock between Republicans and Democrats.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL, has represented state House District 67A for 18 years and won this year’s election with 76 percent of the vote. 

“I think we’re going to have, for the next two years, such gridlock at the Capitol,” Mahoney said in an interview the morning after the election.

Mahoney said he will “continue to fight” for improved public transit, job training, job creation and for education funding for the East Side.

“That plow will have to dig really deep to make it work,” Mahoney said.

“I think you will see a callousness and indifference to issues that affect people of color,” Mahoney said, predicting that the Republican majority will offer little help to urban areas like the East Side.
Mahoney also predicted that the Republican majority will propose a solution to MNsure -- the Minnesota health insurance marketplace -- that will be “driven by insurance companies,” rather than state-driven coverage. He thinks those new medical  plans will have higher deductibles, less preventative coverage and more “catastrophic” coverage. Mahoney added he envisions there will be fewer "checks and balances" to protect the environment. 

Despite the challenges ahead, Mahoney, a retired pipefitter, said he is glad to continue to represent the East Side, a place where he grew up. “I am really grateful for the continued support.”

Sheldon Johnson, DFL, who has represented state House District 67B since 2000, won with 70 percent of the vote. 

He voiced sentiments similar to Mahoney's, adding, “We will have to continue working the best we can with Republicans to secure the resources we need to make the East Side strong.”

In an interview on Nov. 9, Johnson said he was disappointed that the state House did not gain a DFL majority, but he will continue to promote workforce development programs for the East Side. 

He said he suspects Republicans will propose a tax policy with “trickle-down” characteristics involving tax cuts for businesses and high-income earners, which in general is something he cannot support. 

“I was very pleased to have been re-elected and I’m very appreciative of the support and trust … of the neighborhoods of 67B,” said Johnson, adding he will work with both DFLers and Republicans to forge better relationships in the upcoming session. 

East Side incumbents pull through

DFLer Foung Hawj, who is wrapping up his first term in state Senate District 67, won with 75 percent of the vote. His upcoming four-year term will be his first in a Republican-majority state Senate.

In state House District 66B, John Lesch, a DFL incumbent, won with about 80 percent of the vote. 

Longtime DFL state Sen. John Marty of Roseville, who represents the northwest corner of the East Side neighborhood, was re-elected with about 74 percent of the vote in state Senate District 66

Congresswoman Betty McCollum, also a DFLer, won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in U.S. House District 4. 

Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto.

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