7B Race Roundup: Republican Silvers Gets Bump for Being on Ballot
DULUTH-Following Representative Kerry Gauthier's (DFL-Duluth) decision to abandon his re-election bid, only one name remains on the ballot for someone that's actually running.
That's Republican Travis Silvers.
He says he has never held public office but now he's finding himself in a unique position: having a possible advantage over a DFL write-in candidate.
Despite the positioning, 2010 election results show district 7b to very Democratic. Gauthier took the seat by more than 66% (easily beating Silvers 22%).
But now the burden to beat the Republican is on voters who are aware of the write-in campaign.
Silvers, endorsed by the state Republican Party, says he was born and raised in Duluth ("Three kids, I've got two boys and a 16–month–old princess. She's a little sweetheart.") and has a history in small business, including independent construction.
He adds that he aligns with most ideals of the majority party in St. Paul: their refusal to raise taxes on the state's wealthy, support of the creation of a Voter I.D. system, and shortening start-up times for mining projects.
"Polymet has been trying to open up on the Iron Range for a long time. We need to streamline the environmental processes where we're protecting the environment but really we're giving businesses an opportunity to open up here in Minnesota," Silvers said.
Socially, Silvers says he's driven by his faith and leans in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
"I'm not trying to hurt anybody. I'm not trying to tell people who they can love but i think, for the children's sake, people stick together, if we encourage a man and a woman to stay married, it's the best policy and it's going to help our society," Silvers said.
And Silvers agrees his views are a real change from what's Minnesota House 7b politicians have been elected on in the past.
"Voters need to have a choice and from that point on it started a fire in me that, more than ever, makes me want to be involved and make sure a difference can be made," Silvers said.
Silvers will be a part of a roundtable discussion next Wednesday.
That Duluth Chamber of Commerce event will include Erik Simonson, a 22–year veteran of the Duluth Fire Department, who launched his write–in campaign last week.
"Since we announced we've been working hard every day on the phones, going out meeting and greeting people and it's been a tremendous amount of support. As we move forward we're a week away from the DFL endorsing convention," Simonson said.
Simonson says he needs 60% approval at that convention in order to become the new endorsed DFL candidate.
So far he is only person signed on to be a part of the convention, Simonson said.
Duluth City Councilor Jay Fosle will also be a part of the Chamber Forum. Fosle has said he is running without party affiliation and could not be reached for comment on Friday.