Precinct caucuses start at 7 p.m. Tuesday

Precinct caucuses will be Tuesday night, Feb. 7.

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

It’s a chance to shape the political parties and the fortunes of candidates.

Minnesotans will caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 7, gathering in neighborhoods across the state for an exercise in democracy.

“It’s always a big deal,” said Minnesota DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin of the caucuses.

DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie views the caucuses as a chance for people to arrange the “building blocks” of parties by molding party platforms.

Beyond this, Ritchie sees the caucuses as providing candidates willing to spend the time, make the phone calls and wear out the shoe leather, with a means of making their political mark without spending a lot of money.

Caucuses can be wellsprings of new ideas, Martin said.

He cites an idea out of a northern Minnesota caucus in the 1950s that Hubert Humphrey latched onto, an idea about helping that eventually took the shape of the Peace Corps.

This year, a presidential year, will add zest to the caucuses as Republicans and Democrats will feature presidential straw polls.

In 2008, in a presidential race matching Sen. Hillary Clinton against Sen. Barack Obama, some 220,000 Democrats caucused in a record-setting display of fervor.

“I remember standing in a line a mile long,” Martin quipped.

Republican officials are hopeful of a big caucus turnout for their non-binding presidential straw poll.

Some of the parties are getting innovative in their approach to the caucus.

The Independence Party of Minnesota this year is hosting a live, online caucus.

“I’d love to see a hundred people (participate),” said IP Chairman Mark Jenkins. Jenkins expects a few glitches, but also foresees the use of technology continuing into the future.

Details about the live, online IP caucus can be found on the party’s website: www.independenceminnesota.org.

The IP will have caucuses at more than 40 locations on Feb. 7 — Edina, Bloomington, Eagan, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Coon Rapids, Stillwater and elsewhere.

To find where to caucus, check the secretary of state’s website under “Elections” for a caucus-finder to locate the caucus in your neighborhood.

Caucusing begins at 7 p.m. To be eligible to participate in a caucus, attendees must be eligible to vote in the next general election, live in the precinct, and in general agree with the principles of the political party.

Delegates to party conventions are often elected at caucuses.

The Secretary of State’s Office will post the results of the caucus night presidential straw polls on its website. The results will be provided by the parties.

Republican precinct caucuses
Baldwin Township
Location: Zimmerman High School, 25900 Fourth St. W., Zimmerman
Big Lake Township
Location: Big Lake High School, 501 Minnesota Ave., Big Lake
Blue Hill Township
Location: Home of Vicki Angsten, 31280 144th St., Princeton
Elk River
Location: Elk River High School, 900 School St.
Hassan Township
Location: Rogers Community Center North and South Rooms, 21201 Memorial Dr., Rogers
Livonia Township
Location: Zimmerman High School, 25900 Fourth St. W., Zimmerman
Nowthen
Location: Nowthen Alliance Church, 19653 Nowthen Blvd.
Orrock Township
Location: Orrock Town Hall, 26401 180th St., Big Lake
Otsego
Location: Ostego City Hall, 8899 Nashua Ave., Otsego
Ramsey
Location: Ramsey Elementary School, 15100 Nowthen Blvd., Ramsey
Rogers
Location: Rogers Community Center North and South Rooms, 21201 Memorial Dr., Rogers
Santiago Township
Location: Santiago Town Hall, 792 190th Ave., Princeton
Zimmerman
Location: Zimmerman High School, 25900 Fourth St. W., Zimmerman

DFL precinct caucuses
Baldwin Township
Location: Princeton Middle School, 1100 Fourth Ave. N., Princeton
Big Lake Township
Location: Big Lake High School, 501 Minnesota Ave., Big Lake
Blue Hill Township
Location: Princeton Middle School, 1100 Fourth Ave. N., Princeton
Elk River
Location: Elk River High School, 900 School St., Elk River
Livonia Township
Location: Zimmerman High School, 25900 Fourth St. W., Zimmerman
Nowthen
Location: “Old” Nowthen City Hall, 19800 Nowthen Blvd., Nowthen
Orrock Township
Location: Big Lake High School, 501 Minnesota Ave., Big Lake
Otsego
Location: Otsego Elementary School, 8125 River Road, Otsego
Ramsey
Location: Ramsey Elementary School, 15100 Nowthen Blvd., Ramsey
Senate District 32
Including the communities of Corcoran, Dayton, Greenfield, Hanover, Hassan, Maple Grove, Osseo, and Rogers.
Location: Maple Grove High School, 9800 Fernbrook Lane N., Maple Grove
Santiago Township
Location: Becker High School, 12000 Hancock St., Becker
Zimmerman
Location: Zimmerman High School, 25900 Fourth St. W., Zimmerman

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