DFLers tap Halvorsen for state House

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 15, 2002

An attorney from rural Freeborn County will run against Rep.

Monday, April 15, 2002

An attorney from rural Freeborn County will run against Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, in November.

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Allan L. Halvorsen is the DFLers’ choice to challenge Dorman in House District 27A. The selection was made at the district’s endorsing convention Sunday in Austin.

DFLers from Freeborn and Mower counties endorsed Halvorsen on the first ballot. Tony Samudio of Albert Lea, who lost to Dorman in 2000, was the other nominee.

Halvorsen, who lives near Emmons, said he had been considering a run for the state legislature, but didn’t decide to allow his name to be added to the list of nominees until just before the convention. People were encouraging him to run, he said.

&uot;There’s no specific issue leading me to this decision. I care about this community and want to serve it well,&uot; Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen’s next task will be to organize a campaign committee and get ready to discuss the issues with voters.

DFL Senate

In the biggest surprise of the endorsing convention, Dan Sparks was the DFLers’ choice to run against Sen. Grace Schwab, R-Albert Lea.

Sparks, an Austin banker, is a novice to elective politics.

&uot;I’m excited,&uot; Sparks said. &uot;To win the endorsement is an incredible feeling.&uot;

Watching were his mother, Faye Sparks, a DFL political party worker, and grandfather, Leonard Thompson, Hayfield.

Sparks had announced his candidacy for the House District 27B seat being vacated at the end of this term by long-time incumbent State Rep. Rob Leighton.

The field for the House seat was crowded with Len Miller, a Mower County Commissioner and DFL Party activist, Dick Chaffee, an Austin City Council member, and Poppe.

Sparks defeated Terry Kelley, a former television anchorman, on the second convention ballot, winning 61 of 99 delegate votes. Kelley last week officially announced his candidacy for the seat and was the only candidate to step forward.

Kelley immediately vowed, &uot;I’m 99 percent sure I will take this to the primary election in September.&uot;

Sparks had the DFL Party’s endorsement committee nod for the Senate race. Former state senator Pat Piper nominated Kelley.

When the candidates spoke, Kelley hammered away about this &uot;electability&uot; after working as a television personality in the area.

Sparks led after the first ballot, but didn’t have the necessary majority of delegates votes. When the second vote was taken, he had the majority and defeated Kelley 61-38 to win the endorsement.

Sparks promised DFLers, &uot;I’ll work hard to make the strongest DFL ticket I know how.&uot;

In House District 27B, Jeanne E. Poppe was the DFLers’ choice to run for the retiring Rob Leighton’s seat.

GOP senate

Grace Schwab and Jeff Anderson are the choices of the GOP to run for State Senate and House district seats in the Minnesota Legislature.

The GOP held its endorsing convention Saturday at Ellis Middle School in Austin with Freeborn, Mower and Fillmore counties’ delegates present.

Schwab, an Albert Lea Republican, made history two years ago when she upset long-time incumbent Pat Piper, an Austin DFLer, in the Senate District 27 race. It marked the first time the GOP was able to wrestle the Senate seat from the stranglehold of DFLers for so many years.

She was nominated for another endorsement Saturday by Tom Purcell, a long-time DFLer who bolted the party to switch allegiances to the GOP.

Purcell nominated Schwab for reelection to the redrawn Senate District 27C. &uot;Grace is the real thing,&uot; Purcell said. &uot;When you get good people, you back them and fight for them.&uot;

Schwab accepted the endorsement after a voice vote of acclamation. Schwab recalled how she drove to Austin for a similar convention two years ago. &uot;You helped me find a way to fin,&uot; she told the GOP delegates. &uot;We need to make it happen again.&uot;

GOP House

Incumbent State Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, was nominated by his father, J. R. Dorman. Not to be outdone by his grandfather, the legislator’s sons, Chris and Matt, seconded the nomination to endorse their father for the House District.

Dorman also was given a voice vote of acclamation by the GOP delegates. Austin teacher Jeff Anderson won the GOP endorsement for House District 27B by a voice vote of acclamation.

Judy Needham nominated the Austin High School teacher and Lee Aase seconded the nomination.

Anderson lost to incumbent State Rep. Rob Leighton two years ago by near 500 votes.

When Leighton announced early this year he would not seek reelection, Anderson pounced and declared his candidacy.