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Home / News / Elections / [Updated] Melin wins 5B primary, Republicans question her eligibility
Hibbing legal clerk Carly Melin won the five-way DFL primary election Tuesday evening to replace retired DFL Rep. Tony Sertich in House District 5B, but Republicans are questioning her eligibility to run in the general election in less than two weeks.

[Updated] Melin wins 5B primary, Republicans question her eligibility

Carly Melin

Carly Melin

Hibbing legal clerk Carly Melin won the five-way DFL primary election Tuesday evening to replace retired DFL Rep. Tony Sertich in House District 5B, but Republicans are questioning her eligibility to run in the general election in less than two weeks.

Melin, 25, won with 50 percent of the vote, or just more than 2,000 votes. Iron Range Resources Board member Shelley Robinson came in second with 1,180 votes, and union manufacturing worker Raymond Lee Pierce took third with 402 votes.

By Wednesday morning, the Republican Party of Minnesota released a statement questioning whether Melin meets the residency requirement to run. Melin, who attended Hamline University for law school, voted in the Aug. 10 primary election and registered as a St. Paul resident. According to state law, a candidate must live in their district for at least six months in order to be on the ballot in a general election. That means Melin would have had to move back to the district by Aug. 15, the statement reads.

“Is DFL candidate Carly Melin trying to pull a fast one on the voters of House District 5B?” party chair Tony Sutton wrote. “While Melin now claims she lives with her parents, state records show she may have a serious residency problem.”

The state DFL Party fired back, saying Republican attacks were “unfounded”  and didn’t focus on the issues.

“The residency requirement in Minnesota is clear: a candidate must live in their district for six months prior to the special election. Carly Melin meets that requirement,” Jay Benanav, attorney for the DFL Party, said in a statement. “Carly graduated from law school in May, took the bar in St. Paul in July, accepted a job in Hibbing on August 9th and moved back to the district on August 11th. Those are the facts, and there is no question that she is legally able to run for office.”

The election takes place Feb. 15. between Republican Paul Jacobson, who ran and lost to Sertich in the fall, and Independence Party candidate Cynthia Kafut-Hagen. Check back at PIM for updates on the race.

5 comments

  1. I am not sure of Carly Melin’s attorney’s account. August 11th she moved back to the district right after voting in the August 10th primary. That’s cutting it close if she legitimately qualifies. The attorney’s response sounds off to me, than just typical GOP grandstanding. Well see what happens.

  2. Does Melin’s attorney have any proof (such as a moving company receipt or uhaul trailer receipt) that she moved back to Hibbing on Aug. 11? Residency standards should apply equally to everyone including political insiders like Melin.

  3. The address she gave when she voted on August 10 in St. Paul was 1364 Hewitt. I checked the property records and that house is owned by John G. Dwyer and Adena Brumer. It seems odd that she was renting since the Dwyer/Brumer owners claim that is their homestead. If she was a house guest, I’m sure Mr. Dwyer or Ms. Brumer could easily verify when she lived at that address.

    Has anyone looked into this?

  4. My understanding after talking to Carly is that her time in St. Paul was always considered temporary while she studied for the bar. She voted there out of convenience and adherence to the “20 day residency” rule for voting. She then followed her intention of moving back home for a job. Yes, it was close to the deadline, but it will hold up if a complaint is filed …. which it hasn’t yet. Thus this becomes one of those distraction stories used to defer attention from the issues and the other candidates and to depress turnout.

  5. Residency rules are made to protect the rights of LOCAL residents to be represented by a LOCAL state legislator. After she voted in St. Paul on Aug. 10, what date did Melin re-register to vote at her parents’ Hibbing address? Why won’t she offer any proof that she moved to District 5B on August 11?

    In addition to serious residency concerns, there are a lot of significant questions about Melin’s qualifications to serve in the State House. How much life experience does a 25-year-old who lives at home with mom and dad–and who doesn’t even pay rent or meet a mortgage–even really possess? She seems like a privileged St. Paul political insider with little or no understanding of the daily concerns of working families.

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