Court rejects adding another name to Duluth ballot

Jay Fosle’s name will not be printed on the Nov. 6 ballot in the House 7B race in Duluth.

The Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday denied his request to be listed on the ballot, and clarified an earlier ruling ordering Erik Simonson’s name to be on the ballot as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate.

Chief Justice Lori S. Gildea wrote the order, and said reasoning behind the decision will come later.

Fosle had been running as a write-in candidate. After the high court agreed to replace Rep. Kerry Gauthier with Simonson as the Democratic candidate, Fosle asked that his name also be printed.

“It is what it is,” Fosle said after reading the decision. “I’ll just have to work harder.”

“It’s sad when they go against their own state statute. What’s fair is fair, I thought.”

Fosle was referring to a law that generally said a candidate could not be added to a ballot after a primary, unless a candidate had died.

“You would think that if they do it for one, they would do it for all,” he said.

A Duluth emergency room doctor also is adding his name to the House 7B race to replace Democratic Rep. Kerry Gauthier, but he said he won’t mount a formal campaign after he failed to get his name on the ballot.

Dr. David Pipho, who works for Essentia Health, is registered as a write-in candidate for the race. On Tuesday, he petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to get his name on the ballot alongside DFLer Simonson and Republican Travis Silvers.

Pipho said he entered the race to protest Simonson getting on the ballot.

“I thought it was unfair that only a DFL candidate could on the ballot at a late notice,” Pipho said.

Pipho said he abandoned his efforts to get on the ballot after the Minnesota secretary of state told him his name would not be added as a candidate from the Independence Party.

“I got pretty much rejected right off the bat,” he said.

He said he will still remain as a write-in candidate, but will only informally campaign.

“At this late a juncture, it’s too hard to put a campaign together,” he said. “It’s hard to gain any traction when you’re only a write-in candidate, anyway.”

Fosle, Pipho, Simonson and Republican Travis Silvers are running to replace Gauthier, who dropped out of the race last month.

Fosle is not backed by a party.

The state Legislative Research Library looked into the issue and could find no Minnesota legislative write-in candidate who defeated a candidate whose name was printed on the ballot.

Democrats and Simonson had sought a court order to put Simonson’s name on the ballot after Gauthier admitted to a rest stop sexual liaison with a 17-year-old male and ended his re-election campaign. The court approved the request.

In Wednesday’s order, Gildea wrote that St. Louis County Auditor Donald Dicklich must notify absentee and overseas voters who received ballots with Gauthier’s name as a District 7B candidate that the ballot no longer is an official one.

“To avoid confusion, the county auditor shall send with the replacement ballot clear instructions explaining that if the replacement ballot is timely returned to local election officials, it rather than the previous official ballot, will be counted,” she wrote.

Silvers asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its Sept. 25 ruling putting Simonson’s name on the ballot, but the court did not rule on the issue.

Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune contributed to this story.

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