When Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan, first was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 2006, Liz Reyer was her campaign co-chair.
Now Reyer, also a DFLer from Eagan, is a first-term state representative who’s running in the district that Masin represents.
Their contest in Tuesday’s primary election is the only one between two Democratic incumbents in the east metro.
Reyer didn’t live in new House District 52A when a state court panel drew new legislative boundaries in February. Instead, she was paired with another DFLer, Rep. Ruth Richardson of Mendota Heights, in District 52B.
But Reyer decided to move back into the western Eagan-northeast Burnsville district where she had lived for 25 years to continue her legislative career. Richardson is Black, and Reyer said running against a lawmaker of color would have conflicted with her commitments to racial justice and equity.
In addition, Reyer said, when she made up her mind to run, Masin had not yet decided to seek election to an eighth term.
So, she and her husband moved back west of Interstate 35E to the Eagan neighborhood where she raised her family.
“I’m not running against Sandy,” Reyer said. “I’m running because of my vision and my passion to make a difference.”
Masin and Reyer both are progressive Democrats. They support providing all Minnesotans with more affordable access to health care, vow to protect abortion rights, call for increased education funding and generally take liberal positions on other issues.
The main differences between them are their respective policymaking records and approaches to issues.
Masin, 79, said her “knowledge of the community” is what distinguishes her from Reyer. In addition to representing the Eagan area in the legislature for 14 years, she served on the Eagan City Council for seven years in the 1990s and has held seats on several other city, county, school district and transit boards and commissions. She said she listens carefully to her constituents and has worked hard to earn their trust.
Masin said Reyer falsely implies in her campaign literature that she has represented the new District 52A, which mainly consists of Masin’s current legislative territory. “There’s been a lot of distortion and distraction in the information that’s been put out,” she said.
Reyer said she’s been careful to wage a positive campaign, emphasizing that “in my first two years in office, I’ve accomplished a lot on urgent issues.” She said she has helped resist attacks on voting rights and women’s rights.
“I proposed 15 provisions that were enacted into law that make a difference in people’s lives. I get things done,” she said.
Reyer, 65, said she brings extensive experience as a researcher, project manager and business leader who “gets people to come together to focus on problems and come up with solutions. This is what I’ve done for a living in the corporate world.” And it’s what she said she’s doing in the public policy arena, “putting ideas out there in a positive way … and working with people effectively.”