BUZZ Blog: The backstory on Solon endorsing Boyle, and Reinert running for senate
Peter Passi and Brandon Stahl cover issues related to the city of Duluth. Follow BUZZ on Twitter.
What'd I ever do to you?
So what does Yvonne Prettner Solon have against Roger Reinert? Seems like a legitimate question, doesn't it, after she quickly and surprisingly endorsed Patrick Boyle to run for her senate seat, despite Boyle having little elected experience. Why not endorse her legislative colleague for the seat, the guy who would have been (and now is) a presumptive front-runner for the spot?
I asked Solon Monday morning, and she insisted that her endorsement had nothing to do with any type of animosity toward Reinert, saying she "didn't even know he was running for the [senate] seat" and she hadn't talked to him about it.
She instead said she was looking for someone who didn't have to worry about losing his seat this year.
And Boyle, she said, "is a very thoughtful person" whom she thinks people will see as an outstanding candidate for higher office one day. She said she called Boyle Friday night to tell him about her decision to run for Lt. Governor and that she'd endorse him for her seat.
Does she dislike Reinert in any way?
"No," she said. "I thought he had a sure seat." And she added, she thought Reinert would have preferred to stay in the house rather than go to the senate and "start all over again."
She said she will now endorse Reinert for her seat. But ... it still seems kind of strange to me that she wouldn't call Reinert to at least guage his interest in her spot. When word of her decision to drop out of her senate seat spread, Reinert was number 1A at the top of the rumor list to replace her.
Indeed, Reinert said he started thinking about the post over the weekend when he heard about Solon's decision. He was always leaning toward doing it, and said he didn't make a final decision to run until he spoke with one last person last night about the campaign. He then called Boyle to tell him about running, and Boyle told me that's when he decided not to run.
"It was definitely best for the city and party not to have a contentious primary," he said.
He said the two of them spoke last weekend about the senate seat, and the two at that time acknowledged "it was either going to be him or I," Boyle said.
I asked Boyle if he was disapointed about Reinert getting into the race, and he predictably said no.
"I think we would have delegated a bit differently," he said. "But in the long-run 99 percent of the time we would have voted the same way."
Reinert said he has no hard feelings toward Solon.
"I have great respect for her," he said. "Given that I'm supporting Margaret [Anderson Kelliher], Mark Dayton made a great choice in picking her."
He said the two talked Monday following her Dayton press conference about her decision to endorse Boyle, and she re-iterated much of what she told me: that she thought he had been very successful in the house and was poised to take a major leadership role there like Speaker one day (he said he has no interest in that. "I'm not that partisan," he said.)
With that, Reinert talked about assembling his campaign team (the mayor, he said, won't be on it, because "I don't ask elected officials to play those sorts of roles).
And so now after a couple days of dissension we have a united local DFL with everyone saying the rights things and Reinert as the clear, clear favorite to become the city's next state senator. It's not just because of the name recognition or his party backing, but also because if two years ago is any indication, Reinert will campaign like he's the underdog. And that's tough for any opponent to face up against.