Kahn defeats Biele in primary

by Patrick Hayes

In the first contested primary in the East Bank area district in 16 years, DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn managed to defeat her opponent Brian Biele, 68 percent to 33 percent as of press time Tuesday night.
The 28-year legislative veteran Kahn put on a strong campaign in the finals days before the primaries, gathering support from University professors, students, area businessmen and attorneys.
Biele continued to push his message across the University campus, advocating for more affordable housing, an increase in student loans, grants and scholarships, and a property tax relief for renters and homeowners.
“I’m convinced that the issues that we ran on are the issues of the district,” Biele said Tuesday night.
For Kahn, the victory was as expected.
“I had a very good positive message and (voters) responded to that message,” she said.
Kahn added she was happy she won by such a large margin. She said during her last contested primary, in 1984, she won by barely a two-to-one margin.
“We got a very good response throughout the district,” Kahn said.
Kahn is running on improving health care, the environment, women’s rights, and economic security and government reform.
Expecting a victory in the November election, Kahn said she will not work with Biele in her future campaign efforts.
In the past three general elections, Kahn has faced University students, defeating them by nearly 60 percent each time.
During the campaign, Biele challenged Kahn’s absence on the House Higher Education Finance Committee, as well as being out of touch with the district, and losing grasp with the issues that face its voters.
“She isn’t going to work on the issues of the district,” Biele said.
Rather than endorsing Kahn, Biele said Republican Ben Bowman would be able to address the issues concerning the East Bank area.
“I think he’s focusing, and he’s identified the right problems,” Biele said.
“I would just like the candidate that would best represent the district,” he added.
Bowman is running on similar issues as Biele, focusing on tax rebates for students and more funding for K-12 students, making sure they are prepared for University level courses.
Bowman said he has a good chance of defeating Kahn in the November election. He also said earlier that he would have preferred to face Biele and he wished he would have won.
“He ran a very good campaign. Brian was a great candidate,” Bowman said.
The 28-year-old Biele said he appreciated the endorsements he received and plans to be involved in politics in the future.