Sep 24, 2021 - Politics
DFL Sen. Sandy Pappas gets primary challenger
Sheigh Freeberg and Sandy Pappas
Sheigh Freeberg and DFL state Sen. Sandy Pappas Photo: Sheigh Freeberg campaign/Minnesota Legislature

One of the Minnesota Senate's longest-serving lawmakers is facing a primary challenge.

Driving the news: Labor organizer Sheigh Freeberg announced a run this week for Senate District 65, the St. Paul seat held by DFL Sen. Sandy Pappas.

  • "For too long status quo politics have ignored the voices of many of our neighbors," Freeberg said in a statement calling for a "strong voice advocating for working people at the capitol.”

The intrigue: Primary challengers calling for new voices and a more aggressive approach to pushing progressive policies defeated four DFL incumbents in 2020, including three in the metro.

  • Freeberg's bid could be the first in a new wave of intra-party fights in 2022, when all 201 legislative seats are on the ballot.

The other side: Pappas, first elected to the state House in 1984 and the Senate in 1990, confirmed to Torey that she's running for reelection. She defended her record, citing her seniority and leadership posts on key issues such as bonding.

  • "If Mr. Freeberg has a problem with how I have been representing the district, he has every right to make that case to voters and delegates," she said. "I'm up for the challenge."

What to watch: Open seats created by retirement and redistricting could also attract competitive primaries between progressive and more moderate Democrats.

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