Race finally set in House District 56B
Peterson gains Republican nod on second try
After four rounds of balloting April 26, Roz Peterson of Lakeville emerged as the Republican candidate for the Minnesota House of
Representatives in the new District 56B.
Peterson’s opponent, Terry McCall of Burnsville, conceded after the fourth round in an endorsement convention at Diamondhead Education Center in Burnsville, according to Ayrlahn Johnson, chairman of Senate District 56 Republicans.
Peterson, who had the backing of several area Republican legislators, will face former DFL Rep. Will Morgan in November. The district, newly drawn after the latest census, covers south Burnsville and extends north into east central Burnsville. It includes a small portion of Lakeville, the Orchard Lake area.
The April 26 convention was the second for the two candidates, who battled to a draw at the Senate district convention on March 17. In razor-close balloting, neither could reach the 60 percent needed for endorsement.
The two opened the April 26 balloting nearly deadlocked, but later votes swung Peterson’s way. She won the third ballot 64-49, with 68 votes needed to secure endorsement.
McCall conceded and endorsed Peterson before results of the fourth ballot were announced, Johnson said.
According to Johnson, Peterson backers included state Reps. Pam Myhra of Burnsville, Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville and Pat Garofalo of Farmington; state Sen. Dan Hall of Burnsville; and Dan McElroy, a former state representative and Burnsville mayor and former cabinet official under Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
McCall, 63, current chair of the Republican organization for the 2nd Congressional District, had stressed his close ties with grass-roots conservative activists. He’s a supporter of libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul, whose adherents are a growing force in Minnesota Republican politics.
“Ron Paul is not going to be around forever,” Johnson said. “But his ideas and ideals will be. There’s a movement to just embrace the ideals minus the man, if you will.”
Peterson, 46, said the time between the endorsing conventions gave her a chance to reach out to delegates.
“Obviously, smaller government, less spending and lower taxes was sort of a common theme,” Peterson said. “I was grateful and humbled by the support I received” on April 26.
Peterson has twice won election to the Lakeville Area School Board and is a commercial real estate agent for Cerron Commercial Properties. Her family owns shopping centers in Lakeville, Inver Grove Heights and Hopkins.
“I think the thing I bring to the table is I’m a small-business owner, a commercial realtor, I’ve been in this community for over 25 years, and I know where jobs come from,” Peterson said.
Morgan represented the current House District 40A from 2006 to 2010, when he was unseated by Pam Myhra.
“I think it suits me fine,” Morgan said of the new district, which takes effect next year. “I’m excited to get a chance to meet some new voters in parts of Burnsville and parts of Lakeville I haven’t had a chance to meet before.”
Education, health care and the environment will be big issues in the campaign, said Morgan, 45, a Burnsville High School science teacher.
“You wrap all that up in a jobs and the economy context, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about at the doors with folks,” he said.
Education funding must be improved, in light of the lengths to which some school districts are going to balance their budgets, Morgan said. His district, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, is considering a shorter school calendar.
“I think it’s just awful that we even have to think about these things,” Morgan said.