Ron Erhardt with Edina Mayor Jim Hovland testifying about transportation (
by Steve Timmer
Feb 11, 2016, 9:00 AM

I’m gonna stick with Ron . . .

A few days ago, I reported on my conversations with Heather Edelson and Matt Samuel, each of whom is seeking the DFL endorsement in House District 49A, a seat that is currently held by Ron Erhardt, a two-term DFLer, but a much longer term legislator.

I said that I was going to stick with Rep. Erhardt. That’s the view of an overwhelming number of the House DFL Caucus as well, expressed in a vote last weekend. Among other things, these people yearn to be in the majority.

I will be direct. With apologies to Heather, Matt, and to Ron, too, selecting a candidate is like betting on a horse. That isn’t especially romantic, I know. But let’s look at the racing form.

First, we must remember Rep. Erhardt’s overwhelming advantage in campaign and legislative experience, his campaign organization, and his fundraising advantage and ability.

Now focusing on the votes in 49A in 2014 — a year that the DFL lost the House — we find some interesting totals:

Al Franken, who spent a bazillion dollars statewide, got 10,420 votes in 49A.

Ron Erhardt, running his second time as a DFLer, and not funded as well as his Republican opponent, got 10,206.

Mark Dayton, running for his second term as governor, got 10,152.

If you add the votes for Sharon Sund and Keith Ellison (49A is split between the 3rd and 5th congressional districts), they got 9,067 votes.

Steve Simon, from neighboring Hopkins, running for an open seat for Secretary of State, got 9,315.

The incumbent candidate for State Auditor, Rebecca Otto, did a little  better; she garnered 10,007 votes.

In 2012, which was a better year for the DFL (a presidential year), and the first time that Ron Erhardt ran as a DFLer, the results in 49A were even more dramatic:

Ron Erhardt got 14,101 votes; Uncle Billy Glahn (running against Ron Erhardt) got 11,139. Ron’s race was the first legislative race called by the Associated Press.

Popular DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar got 16,905; Brian Barnes and Keith Ellison together (CD3 and CD5) got 11,828.

On the “A” side of SD49, Melisa Franzen got 13,268.

I hope that things are coming into focus here.

If you go back to the days when Ron ran as a Republican — and I invite you to do that — you will see that he’s been one of the biggest vote getters in Edina for many years.

Ron Erhardt did something that no DFLer ever did on the A side of the district: win.

One of the kindest things that the local GOP ever did for the DFL was to deny Ron Erhardt its endorsement after voting to override Governor Pawlenty’s gas tax veto.

Let’s not return the favor.

Addendum: Just to round out the comparison, popular DFLer Paul Rosenthal got 10,171 votes in 49B (the districts are the same size) in 2014. In 2012, he got 13,560.

In both cycles, Ron Erhardt not only got more votes than his Republican opponent, he got more votes than his District 49 stablemate. I do not offer than as a criticism of Paul Rosenthal (the districts are not identical in makeup, of course), but just to show the strength of Ron Erhardt as a DFL candidate.

The party would be foolish to throw the advantage away.

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