McCollum wins despite harsh accusations

by Megan Boldt

After a tight race muddled with a few harsh accusations, state Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL-North St. Paul, garnered enough votes to prevail as the DFL’s Fourth Congressional candidate.
McCollum won by a 2-1 margin over her nearest opponent. Her competitors included state Sen. Steve Novak, DFL-New Brighton, former public defender Chris Coleman and small business owner Cathie Hartnett.
McCollum will attempt to retain the DFL hold on longtime Rep. Bruce Vento’s seat. The 24-year Congressional veteran announced this spring he would not seek re-election after being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer.
Even though there was some dissension among the candidates, Bill Lofy, spokesman for McCollum’s campaign, said he believes the DFLers will come together for the general election.
“As in any race, there were some disagreements,” Lofy said. “But there was a common base why all the candidates ran in the primary. I hope the candidates back her in her campaign.”
Coleman said he was very happy with the efforts of his campaigners, but he realizes sometimes politics is politics.
He said he will take some time off to spend with his kids but will back DFLers in the fall campaigning season.
Lofy said McCollum’s victory did prove the endorsement system works, despite state Sen. Jerry Janezich’s defeat in the DFL Senate primary Thursday night.
“But, it’s not just the endorsement that wins the election,” Lofy said. “You’ve got to run a good campaign on the issues.”
State Sen. Linda Runbeck, R-Vadnais Heights, fulfilled party expectations and defeated Patricia Reagan for the Republican candidacy.
Also, former DFLer Tom Foley won the Independence Party’s candidacy.
Coleman said Foley and Runbeck will be stiff competition for McCollum.
“The DFL has its work cut out for them,” Coleman said. “She just has to run a positive campaign on the issues.”
Lofy said McCollum will go after Runbeck’s extremist conservative agenda.
He also said Foley is a career politician and only ran under the Independence Party ticket because he new he couldn’t win under the DFL’s.
“It’s not about winning for the sake of winning, and the Fourth District knows it,” Lofy said.
McCollum, Runbeck and Foley will face off in the Nov. 7 general election.

Megan Boldt covers elections and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3235.