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Editorial: House race is starting to look interesting

Minnesota's caucuses haven't happened yet but Rosemount's local elections are already starting to get interesting.

On Wednesday, two candidates who should be familiar to Rosemount residents announced plans to seek the seat Dennis Ozment will vacate at the end of this year. The presence of city council member Phillip Sterner and longtime Rosemount veterinarian Kurt Hansen should make for an intriguing campaign season.

Sterner and Hansen have been on opposite sides of Rosemount's most divisive issue over the past year or so. Sterner has been part of the council's decisions to move ahead with redevelopment downtown and Hansen, who owns several properties downtown in addition to his vet clinic, has been a vocal opponent of the project and of the city's use of eminent domain to make it happen.

Eminent domain cannot be the only issue for the two candidates, obviously. They are competing to represent a wider area than just Rosemount and there are many more issues on residents' mind. Still, the issue, which Hansen raises in the press release announcing his candidacy, is bound to come up.

Both announcements arrived in our office late Wednesday night, and as of this writing we haven't had a chance to talk with either candidate about his decision. As a result, it is hard to know for certain how this race will play out. Hansen has announced plans to seek the Democratic party's nomination, but Sterner does not mention a party affiliation, so it is unclear whether they are seeking the same endorsement, or whether either would continue to run without party backing. We don't know if the candidates will square off in Tuesday's caucuses, further down the line in the general campaign or at all.

Whatever happens, if the same level of passion that has been dedicated to the downtown issue spills over into the House election, things could get very interesting indeed.