Democrats endorse Rep. Laine for Senate District 41 seat

Rep. Carolyn Laine

Rep. Connie Bernardy

Ryan Evanson

Sen. Barb Goodwin

Mary Kunesh-Podein

Camden Pike

Republicans have until late May to endorse a candidate 

The DFL Party announced its endorsement of Carolyn Laine of Columbia Heights for the state Senate District 41 seat being vacated by DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights, who is retiring from the Legislature. 

Laine is the current representative for Minnesota House District 41B.

Her endorsement came earlier this month at the DFL convention for Senate District 41, which encompasses Columbia Heights, Fridley, St. Anthony Village, New Brighton, Hilltop City and one precinct in Spring Lake Park.

Leading up to the convention, Laine was competing against Rep. Connie Bernardy of Fridley for the Senate District 41 DFL endorsement. 

After Laine won that endorsement, Bernardy chose to run for reelection in House District 41A.


Grew up on the Range

Originally from Hibbing, Laine, 69, arrived to the Twin Cities in 1969. She has resided in Columbia Heights for over 40 years. 

As an undergrad, Laine studied education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She continued her studies at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, where she studied psychology.  

After raising her five children, she entered the field of education, teaching in Minneapolis. 

Laine has been serving in her House seat for the past 10 years and will complete her fifth term this year.

So far Laine does not have a Republican Party-endorsed opponent. 

“Nobody has announced [their candidacy] as of yet from our side,” said Susan Erickson, chair of the GOP Senate District 41 committee. 

As for Laine, she said a Republican candidate would be welcome.  

“A Republican in this area would just make the race more interesting,” Laine said. “It would help us focus in on different points and make perspectives clear. I think a competitor is a good thing,” she added.

The Republican Party has until the end of May to announce and endorse a candidate for the Senate seat.  


Work remains in the House

Laine said for now, however, she’s going to focus her efforts on her current role in the House of Representatives. 

“Now that the endorsement is over, it’s time to get back to business in the House,” she said. 

“As a part of the minority [party] in the House, my job is to make sure the majority is aware of some of the things they are doing and to bring light to those things.” 

When it comes time to focus on her upcoming Senate campaign, she explained she will run on her legislative accomplishments.

“I’ve done a lot in the House and I think that’s what helped me win the endorsement,” she said. “I had never had the opportunity to run against another Democrat before. Connie Bernardy and I have two different styles so we just had to let it play out for this particular endorsement.” 

One reason Laine made her decision to aim for the Senate seat, she said, was because she felt someone like herself — who shares Goodwin’s opinions on leadership and issues like the environment — should replace the retiring senator. 

Goodwin, 66, has served in the Senate since 2010, and in the House before that from 2000 to 2006. 


Others receive endorsements

The DFL Party endorsed Mary Kunesh-Podein for Minnesota House District 41B, soon to be vacated by Laine. Bernardy received the DFL endorsement in her House District 41A reelection bid.

According to Erickson, on the Republican side, Ryan Evanson was endorsed to run for House District 41A against Bernardy, and Camden Pike was endorsed for House District 41B to run against Kunesh-Podein.


Jesse Poole can be reached at or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at

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