Special Elections to Note
MN Midterm Elections 2023
Outgoing: Minnesota State Representative Ruth Richardson, District 52B
Ruth Richardson was first elected in 2018 as State Representative for District 52B. Her election marked a turn in political tide for the district as she was able to flip the red seat blue. She resigned, on September 1st, 2023, in the middle of her third term.
Ruth Richardson has been a healthcare champion and a longtime advocate and specialist in mental health support, recovery from addiction, substance abuse support, and women’s reproductive justice. Over the last year she has also served as CEO for Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS), which covers Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. This is a historic role for Richardson as the first Black woman to serve as CEO of Minnesota’s largest abortion provider.
Richardson assumed leadership of PPNCS three months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year, which effectively dismantled federal protections for abortions. Since the Court’s decision, in the case know as Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, 21 states have banned or made
restrictions on abortions more stringent than allowed previously under federal law. Richardson has been a staunch supporter for abortion rights at the legislature.
Richardson’s notable achievements in office include leading on a bill to establish the nation's first Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls, legislation to provide all Minnesota workers with earned paid family and medical leave benefits, and the creation of the House Select Committee on
Racial Justice. She also authored legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Minnesota.
Richardson’s resignation came on the heels of accusations from union leaders at Planned Parenthood, who allegedly faced workplace violations themselves, and consequently the loss of major labor endorsements. Richardson has denied such allegations and stated she is resigning her elected role to focus on CEO duties at Planned Parenthood.
The Special Primary Election for House District 52B, to select each political party’s candidate who will appear on the ballot for the Special Election, is set for Thursday, November 16, 2023. The Special Election takes place on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
Voting information can be found at: www.sos.state.mn.us/election-administration-campaigns/
Outgoing: 6th District Hennepin County Commissioner Chris LaTondresse
Chris LaTondresse was elected in 2020 as the 6th District Hennepin County Commissioner to represent the communities of Deephaven, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, Northern Eden Prairie, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Woodland, and Wayzata. He resigned his elected official role on September 21, 2023, to become the new President and CEO of Beacon Interfaith Housing, a Minnesota-based housing nonprofit organization with a focus on creating deeply affordable housing.
As of the publishing of this article, only one person has stepped up. Jen Westmoreland, the current Hopkins School Board Chair, has announced her bid for the vacant seat. She is the domestic partner of Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty and has said she would recuse herself of any matters involving Moriarty. As LaTondresse’s former campaign chair, Jen was instrumental in getting him elected. She has been focused on filling his seat since August when LaTondresse first announced his plan
Hennepin County intends to hold a special election for the expected vacancy of Commissioner District 6 on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. A special primary is possible and, if needed, will be held Tuesday, April 30, 2024.
Voting information will be available at: www.hennepin.us/residents/elections/prepare-vote.`
J. Deebaa Sirdar
Guest Editor, Black Votes Matter MN
NOVEMBER 7, 2023