Kahn retains seat in Minnesota House

Lee VandenBusch

Incumbent State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, once again defeated her opponents Tuesday night, retaining her seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives for the 18th time.

Kahn, 69, defeated Republican Christina Quick and Independent Ron Lischeid for the house seat in Minnesota’s District 59B, which includes the University.

Kahn won with 72.63 percent of the vote with 92.31 percent precincts reporting.

Sean Broom, Kahn’s campaign manager and president of Minnesota Young DFL, said he was not surprised with the victory.

“It was kind of expected,” Broom said.

He said Kahn’s team was particularly proud of their work increasing student voter turnout.

“We took voter turnout on campus and destroyed it. We cranked it up like nobody’s business.” Broom said.

“Was I sitting on the edge of my chair worrying if I was going to win? Obviously not,” Kahn said. She added that she was very excited because of the “huge change of direction” in the state House.

Kahn has long been known as an outspoken activist in Minneapolis, being a vocal advocate for causes such as women’s rights and environmental issues. She was also the author of the first bill to ban tobacco smoke indoors, which later became a model for lawmakers across the nation.

For many voters, Kahn’s victory has become almost a given, with the incumbent usually defeating opponents by wide margins.

Besides just campaigning for herself this election season, Kahn spent a good amount of time helping 5th District congressional candidate Keith Ellison. Kahn spent time at the Ellison headquarters on election night.

“Keith did very well tonight,” Kahn said.

Kahn’s republican opponent, Quick, is a student at nearby Augsburg college. Quick is just one of many students to have opposed Kahn with the same result.

In the 2004 election, University student Amanda Hutchings, Kahn’s republican opponent, received 16.97 percent of the vote. Quick garnered 16.64 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

A person who answered at Quick’s campaign number said Quick would not be available for comment on the race.

Independence Party-backed Lischeid, a local businessman, has run for the seat before, also losing.

Lischeid could not be reached for comment.

Lischeid got 10.09 percent of the vote.

As for Kahn, she said this term is not going to be “work as usual,” noting that the DFL majority in the house will make a big difference.