Hovde balances student, campaigning roles

Ole Hovde

Tony Morimoto

Ole Hovde

At 7 p.m. on Halloween, Ole Hovde and his two man crew drew little attention as they walked into Comstock Hall. Their armloads of fliers and political visitorsâÄô nametags were minor fashion accents compared with the residentsâÄô elaborate costumes. His volunteers slid fliers under doors while Hovde tried to convince his fellow students that it was OK to vote for someone with an âÄúRâÄù after their name on the ballot. He spoke of his liberal social policies and desire to freeze tuition, attributing his Republican endorsement to his conservative financial policies. Most students were curious about a fellow student running for office âÄî âÄúYou havenâÄôt even graduated yet; how are you going to write a bill?âÄù one student asked. Hovde said he would take his ideas for bills to the same lawyers at the capitol who draft bills for other Representatives. Taking 15 credits while running his window-washing business and campaigning has been cutting into his sleep and exercise time, he said, though his class attendance has actually improved this semester. His pickup truck, filled with boxes of fliers, empty 5-Hour Energy bottles, and fast food wrappers shows the frantic pace his candidacy has brought to his life. As of Oct. 20, Hovde had raised just under $12,000 to fund his campaign, $4,190 of which came from a state subsidy given to all House candidates who agree to follow campaign finance guidelines. He also raised nearly $7,485 in individual contributions. Of that, $4,450 was itemized, and $2,150 came from people whose last names were Hovde. Hovde said he refused to talk to any of the special interest groups that approached him, because he wanted to serve the people of District 59B, and not special interests. His opponent, 36-year incumbent Phyllis Kahn, has raised considerably more money, at $26,422. Of that money, $5,350 came from various political action committees including Education Minnesota, the Minneapolis Police Relief Association , and Minneapolis Fire Department Relief Association . Volunteer support for his campaign has come from a group of about five core people, Hovde said. âÄúTheyâÄôve done more for me than I could ever have asked,âÄù Hovde said. Hovde made the decision to run a year ago when he was interning at the state capitol, he said. He read up on Kahn, and decided District 59B needed a change. Quick to acknowledge KahnâÄôs intelligence and education, Hovde said he felt compelled to run because she wasnâÄôt doing enough to fight for students. âÄúMy tuition has gone up $2,400 while IâÄôve been a student, and she hasnâÄôt done anything to stop that,âÄù he said.