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Schultz wins DFL endorsement for House 7A seat

Delegates fill the common area of Duluth East High School on Saturday for the Minnesota Senate District 7 DFL Convention. (Clint Austin /

Jennifer Schultz received the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for the Minnesota House District 7A seat on Saturday.

Schultz, a professor of economics and director of the health care management program for the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at University of Minnesota Duluth, was endorsed over three other candidates at the Senate District 7 DFL Convention at Duluth East High School.

Barring a primary challenge, she’ll face Republican Becky Hall this fall in the race to replace longtime Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, who previously announced he will not seek re-election.

Schultz was endorsed after seven ballots over Pete Johnson, a captain with the Duluth Fire Department; Johnson conceded with Schultz just a few points from the 60 percent of delegates needed for an endorsement. Candidates eliminated earlier in the endorsement process were At Large Duluth City Councilor Linda Krug, and community organizer Gary Anderson. The convention drew several hundred participants.

Johnson, Krug and Anderson each said Saturday evening that they would abide by the endorsement and give their support to Schultz.

Schultz on Saturday evening described herself as somewhat of an underdog among the DFL candidates vying for the endorsement, perhaps initially lacking the name recognition of others in the race. While commending Johnson, Krug and Anderson, Schultz said she felt her deep knowledge of the issues gained her support from delegates.

“I think they knew I have the skills and expertise” to counter Republican arguments, she said.

Anderson said a strong field of DFL candidates who sought the 7A endorsement on Saturday bodes well for the party looking ahead.

“We brought in a lot of people who hadn’t participated before, so there’s lots of fresh energy and we’re ready to go,” he said.

Hall, a former employee of the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development who now is a stay-at-home mom and community volunteer, won the GOP endorsement for the seat last month over retired military intelligence worker Donna Bergstrom. Bergstrom said she would abide by that endorsement and support Hall.

“I’m seeing a lot of excitement and energy” among Duluth GOP supporters, Hall said Saturday. “It’s nice to see some fresh faces in the race — it’s going to be interesting.”