The 2019 Election just happened so it’s time to get ready for the 2020 election. I recently heard someone say that she knew that the 2020 election was important, but did not think that she, as one person, could make much of a difference. Based on my experience in the past four years as an active DFL volunteer, I am here to tell you that she is wrong. One person with determination and energy can have a significant impact on the 2020 elections.
Here is why I say that. I lived in Plymouth for over 30 years and occasionally volunteered for some losing Democratic campaigns. In June 2014, I moved to Brooklyn Park and decided to see if I could help with the local candidate for the Minnesota House. That happened to be Melissa Hortman, the future Speaker, who was then running for re-election.
I decided to do a lot of door-knocking for her and then got to celebrate a win with her on election night. In 2016, I door-knocked for both Melissa and John Hoffman, who was running for re-election to the Minnesota Senate. Again, more election night celebrating — and I realized I had found the answer to the question, “What are you going to do when you retire?” It was an important question for me because I would be turning 65 in April 2017. I decided to be an active volunteer for political campaigns.
In early 2017, I created a Twitter account (@mndemsvolunteer) and started donating and volunteering for Tim Walz and Dean Phillips. During 2018, I door-knocked for them, Melissa, and a few first-time DFL candidates in CD3 who were running for the Minnesota House. Door-knocking for those outstanding first-time candidates was one of my most rewarding political activities.
So, how do you — yes I’m talking to YOU — go about having a significant impact on a local election?
You start by finding a candidate to help and support. There are candidates at many levels: President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives, County Commission, Mayor, City Council, School Board. But I believe that you will get the most return on your investment in time and money if you select a candidate running in a swing district for the Minnesota House.
In 2020, Minnesota will elect 134 state Representatives, 67 state Senators, eight U.S. Congressional Representatives, one U.S. Senator, and U.S. President/Vice President. Minnesota House candidates each have about 39,500 residents in their districts and the goal to have their campaign team knock on the door of every Democratic, Independent, and swing voter in the district.
The House candidate and teammates will use these face-to-face encounters on a voter’s doorstep to persuade swing voters and low-turnout voters to vote for the DFL House candidate and, this is the important part, once that voter decides to vote for that candidate, they will likely vote DFL up and down the ticket. Your work to help a Minnesota House candidate win will ultimately help the DFL take back the Minnesota Senate, increase the number of DFL congressional representatives, re-elect Tina Smith, and elect a Democratic President.
If your DFL House candidate is in a competitive race, then help that candidate. But, if you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul, your representative will not need your help as much as a DFL candidate in a swing district in the suburbs or Greater Minnesota.
Let me emphasize that if you have the time, energy and resources to support multiple candidates at all levels of office, please do. But, if you want to get started by supporting one candidate, pick one state representative candidate running in a swing district.
How do you get involved in a political campaign? Getting started is easy. Make a phone call to the candidate and ask how you can help. I can assure you that MN House candidates do not get very many calls from prospective campaign volunteers. They will be thrilled to hear from you even if you live outside of the district. Then, make a contribution, even if it is only $10. It shows that you are willing to support the campaign. Remember that you can receive a refund for up to a $50 donation through the Political Contribution Refund program. By offering to help and making a donation, you will immediately become part of the team.
Now the rubber meets the road. Minnesota House candidates cannot knock on all the doors by themselves. They need volunteers. I can safely say that no candidate for the Minnesota House has ever had too many volunteers for door-knocking. Candidates will always welcome your help in this area.
If you are not able or willing to knock on doors, there are plenty of other volunteer activities:
– Make phone calls
– Make phone calls
– Stuff envelopes
– Attend a house party or fundraiser
– March in a parade
– Write a letter to the local newspaper
– Tweet and post on Facebook about the candidate
– Donate again and get your friends to donate
Yes, the 2020 election might be the most important one in our lifetimes. By helping to get a DFL Minnesota House candidate elected in a swing district, you will experience the joy and fulfillment of knowing that you made a significant contribution to getting Democratic candidates elected from city council to U.S. President!
Now, Go – become a DFL Volunteer!
Convinced? Then, based on my discussions with individuals at DFL headquarters, here are ten incumbent MN House of Representative candidates who can use your help now to get re-elected in 2020.
5A John Persell @persell4house
33B Kelly Morrison @Morrison4MN
36A Zack Stephenson @zackstephenson
38B Ami Wazlawik @amiwazlawik
39B Shelly Christiansen @shellyforhouse
48B Carlie Kotyza-Witthun @carlieforhouse
53B Steve Sandell @stevesandell53b
54A Anne Claflin @anne_claflin
55A Brad Tabke @BradTabke
57B John Huot @houtforhouse
Stay tuned for a list of DFL House challengers in early 2020.