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Two newcomers in Anoka-Hennepin defeat DFL-allied, Education Minnesota-backed candidates


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Minnesota Parents Alliance-backed candidates picked up a handful of big election night wins, but the teachers union continued to flex its muscles in many Twin Cities school board races.
Hank Long
November 8, 2023

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Linda Hoekman and Zach Arco defeated their Education Minnesota-endorsed opponents in their respective head-to-head races on Tuesday night

In one of the most closely watched school board races in the Twin Cities, two of three candidates endorsed by a conservative grassroots organization, the Minnesota Parents Alliance, have captured seats on the Anoka-Hennepin School Board.

Linda Hoekman and Zach Arco defeated their Education Minnesota-endorsed opponents in their respective head-to-head races on Tuesday night, as election results from several school board and municipal elections across the state came pouring in shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

Anoka-Hennepin, which has long held the distinction of the district with the largest student enrollment in Minnesota, encompasses boundaries of more than 248,000 residents. Its school board approved a $610 million budget in June. While most school districts in Minnesota hold elections for at-large seats, Anoka-Hennepin’s seven seats are comprised by geographical district.

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Minnesota Parents Alliance pickups in Hastings, South Washington County and Wayzata

Another big victory for the Minnesota Parents Alliance candidates came in the South Washington County School Board race.

While Education Minnesota was able to help two of its three endorsed candidates win seats on the seven-person District 833 School Board, MPA-endorsed Ryan Clarke also earned a seat by capturing the third-most votes in the at-large contest that featured 11 candidates. The two top vote earners were Simi Patnaik and Melinda Dols, who each earned about 16 percent of the votes cast. Clarke came in third with more than 14 percent of the vote.

One of the hardest fought races between Minnesota Parents Alliance and Education Minnesota was in Hastings District #200. In that race, the teachers union and the DFL-allied School Board Integrity Project backed a slate of four candidates who were recruited by a progressive activist group named “200 Strong.” Just one of those four candidates, Matt Bruns, won a seat on the Hastings School Board. Three candidates endorsed by the Minnesota Parents Alliance earned the other three seats up for grabs. Those candidates were Jenny Wiederholt-Pine, Phillip Biermaier and Melissa Millner.

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