Kahn prevails over Bowman in East Bank House race

by Sam Kean

Staff Reporters
Veteran DFL lawmaker Phyllis Kahn will continue her 28-year-career as state representative of the University’s East Bank, beating University student Ben Bowman with about 70 percent of the votes.
By 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Secretary of State’s Web site reported that Kahn had received 3,666 votes compared to Bowman’s 1,630 with 43 percent of the precincts reporting.
Many polling stations reported a record turnout in district 59B. Long lines caused some polling sites to run out of ballots before closing time at 8 p.m.
On her way out the door from a neighborhood gathering with state Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, Kahn recognized that her constituents had elected her to a 15th term.
Kahn, a graduate of Cornell, Harvard and Yale Universities, gave her 22-year-old Republican some credit.
“Ben worked harder than any of my other opponents. He seemed to learn along the way,” Kahn said. “He started out very negative.”
She added that Bowman focused perhaps too much on the student vote.
“He acted like he was running for the student body president,” she said. “This district is extremely diverse.”
At the Republican Party convention in downtown St. Paul, Bowman declined to concede defeat at 11 p.m. He said most of the campus precincts hadn’t reported votes yet.
He said he hoped for a boost from Super Block residents who voted at the state Department of Health.
The former Minnesota Student Association president said, overall, he was satisfied with his campaign.
“When was the last time students stood out in the freezing rain to vote?” Bowman asked, adding that he plans to run again.
The Carlson School of Management senior said if he faced Kahn again, he would run a more critical campaign.
Throughout his campaign, Bowman pushed issues he said were most important to students: freezing tuition for each incoming class, lowering the drinking age to 18 and advocating the development of more affordable housing units in the district.
He spent most of his time stumping for votes on campus in an effort to lure the 3,500 students living in campus housing.
Bowman isn’t the first University student to lose to Kahn. In 1998, Robert Fowler and Eric Hanson ran unsuccessful campaigns against the state lawmaker.
Bowman also received backing from The Minnesota Daily in an editorial endorsement.
Kahn discredited the endorsement, arguing that the Daily endorsements were constructed on shaky arguments.
She also challenged the editorial’s premise that she was out of touch with students.