Democrat Stu Lourey’s loss to Republican Jason Rarick in Tuesday’s Senate District 11 special election has some Democrats in Minnesota frustrated that Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) backed the 25-year-old ex-Franken aide over the party’s endorsed candidate.
Lourey’s father, Tony Lourey, was selected by Walz to serve as commissioner for the Department of Human Services in early January. His departure from the Minnesota Senate for a spot in the Walz administration opened up a seat that has been in the Lourey family for 20 years, but has been trending red after President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by 13 points.
Stu Lourey announced his candidacy shortly after his father stepped aside, but DFL leaders preferred Michelle Lee and endorsed her in the race. Walz, however, appeared at a fundraiser for Lourey and door-knocked with him after he won the primary.
“Walz pick of Lourey was a completely stupid, unforced error,” one DFL legislative source told The Star Tribune after Rarick’s victory.
University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter called Lourey’s defeat “another disaster for Minnesota’s DFL, which already lost two U.S. House seats in November by catering to sulfide mining companies.”
“Same problem problem here plus 400 primary ballots not counted. They should’ve run clean water candidate [Michelle Lee],” Painter added.
As The Minnesota Sun reported, more than 400 mail-in ballots went uncounted in the DFL’s January 22 primary because they arrived after election day. Due to the “truncated timeline” for special elections, administrators and county auditors struggled to get mail-in ballots out to voters in a timely manner.
“When DFL party bosses disenfranchise voters in primaries those voters don’t show up for general elections. Voters also want clean water, not sulfide mining. The DFL just learned these lessons the hard way. [Michelle Lee] would’ve won this state senate seat,” Painter added.
When DFL party bosses disenfranchise voters in primaries those voters don’t show up for general elections. Voters also want clean water, not sulfide mining. The DFL just learned these lessons the hard way. @noozelady would’ve won this state senate seat. https://t.co/iKgjZGvSDX
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) February 6, 2019
Walz thanked Lourey for his “passion and commitment” after losing Tuesday’s election to Rarick 44 percent to 52 percent.
“I congratulate Senator-elect Jason Rarick and look forward to working with him in the spirit of One Minnesota to find common ground to improve people’s lives,” Walz said.
Thank you, Stu Lourey. We are grateful for your passion and commitment to bettering your community.
I congratulate Senator-elect Jason Rarick and look forward to working with him in the spirit of #OneMinnesota to find common ground to improve people’s lives.
— Tim Walz (@Tim_Walz) February 6, 2019
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Stu Lourey” by Stu Lourey. Photo “Tim Walz” by Tim Walz.