Sparks, Poppe still unopposed

Published 9:29 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

As state Rep. Jeanne Poppe and state Sen. Dan Sparks, both DFLers from Austin, enter election season, they’re hearing crickets from the other side.

“I don’t know if there’s anyone from the Republican Party who is planning on running against me,” Poppe said.

At this point, no GOP candidates have filed to run for either seat. Poppe filed for re-election May 25. Sparks has not filed, but he has been endorsed by the DFL Party. He did not return multiple calls for comment on this story.

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Candidates have slightly less than a week left to file for Minnesota Legislature, with the filing period ending June 5. Candidates can withdraw their filings up through June 7.

Poppe said she’s looking forward to the prospect of being re-elected and continuing to serve Minnesota.

“I think I’ve represented the district well and would be honored to be re-elected,” she said. She was first elected in 2004 and is currently in her fifth term. House terms are two years. Senate terms are four.

Sparks, who was first elected in 2002, is now two years into his third term. While terms are typically four years long, all Senate seats will still be on the ballot this year because of redistricting.

Mower County GOP Chairman Dennis Schminke said he’s not aware of any candidates who intend to file against Poppe or Sparks.

“We have not been successful in finding someone who wants to take that on,” Schminke said. “There may not be any, which is a bad thing.”

Mower County particularly is a tough place to run for Republicans, he added.

Sparks’ 2010 challenger for Senate seat 27, Kathy Greean, said she does not intend to file this year.

“I have two kids graduating, one from college and one from high school,” Green said. “And one getting married.” She said of her family commitments.

“That comes first,” she said.

Jennifer Gumbel, who ran against Poppe for House seat 27B in the 2010 election, had similar reasons not to run this year.

“With the family it just made more sense to do something in town,” Gumbel said.

She plans instead to file for mayor of Le Roy.