The Associate Justice races are in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and then that's it for contested judicial races in St. Paul.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE 1
Barry Anderson (Incumbent)
Dean Barkley is best known in local politics for spending 61 days as a Senator (he was appointed by Governor Ventura to fill the seat after Paul Wellstone died). He's sort of a crank -- as was (and is) Ventura, for that matter. Barkley enthusiastically joined the Reform Party after it was started by Ross Perot. At some point the MN Reform party changed its name to the Independence Party, but I usually call them the Jessecrats. If someone is running as a DFLer or a Republican or a Libertarian or a Green, you can make some assumptions about their beliefs and you will be mostly correct. Jessecrats -- well, years ago I remember reading their party platform and thinking that it seemed to be a laundry list of random grousing. I mean, it practically included as bullet point #328 that the GODDAMN KIDS NEED TO STAY OFF HAROLD'S LAWN, that's how weirdly specific it got in places.
I actually participate, after a fashion, in the writing of the DFL party platform. At caucuses, people introduce resolutions which are then debated and voted on at the caucus. These all get forwarded to the Senate District Convention, where the Resolutions Committee puts them all together into this enormous list and people vote on the ones they like while they're killing time between ballots and so on. Those lists are comprehensive and often overly specific. There are invariably reams upon reams of resolutions for things that are already in the DFL platform. Other resolutions -- well, I remember one that called for extended unemployment benefits for electricians. Another called for every laboring woman to be provided with a doula by her health insurer (I'm pro-doulas but does this really need to be in the DFL platform?)
Anyway, post-convention stuff gets sent to another committee and the fact is that they do a lot of weeding. The Jessecrat platform read like no one had bothered to weed. At all. Ever.
(I just looked it up and it is MUCH better written now, FYI.)
But that's still my overall impression of Dean Barkley. Kind of a crank.
Barry Anderson was appointed by Pawlenty but I don't think he's evil. This admittedly poorly-sourced rant says that while he's a Republican, he's not the crazy hate-filled sort of Republican but the centrist, openminded kind.
I will probably vote for Barry Anderson but I am open to a case being made for Dean Barkley. Actually, you would have to make a convincing case against the incumbent, in this case, because honestly, I don't have a very high opinion of Dean.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE 4
David R. Stras (incumbent)
Stras is a lesser evil here. Tingelstad is not even remotely subtle about his Dominionist foaming at the mouth. Vote for Stras.
In Minneapolis, there are two more contested races.
4TH DISTRICT COURT -- JUDGE 22
Steven E. Antolak
Elizabeth V. Cutter
Neither candidate is an incumbent (!) I voted for Liz Cutter in the primary after being totally unimpressed by the stupid boilerplate ad about his "AV Rating" on Antolak's website. I'm going to vote for Liz Cutter in the general election for the following reasons:
1. She's endorsed by a bunch of people I like. Antolak is endorsed by AFSCME so he's not endorsement-less, but I am less impressed by AFSCME endorsing you than BOTH Keith Ellison AND Arne Carlson endorsing you.
2. Did I mention the stupid, boilerplate ad on Antolak's site? I want judges to be smart.
3. Liz Cutter's done a bunch of work on domestic violence issues, including working with international groups to draft laws in other countries, which I think is cool.
That said, I think they're both reasonable choices. Antolak sounds compassionate and hardworking.
4TH DISTRICT COURT -- JUDGE 44
ANOTHER judicial race with no incumbent! This wasn't in the primary because only two people filed.
They both look like reasonable candidates. I like Conroy's endorsements much, much better -- partly because Berris's are mostly from the suburbs, and I don't know who these people are or what they stand for. (Except for Rich Stanek, whom I don't much like.) I'm going to vote for Conroy based on her endorsements. If anyone has specific information about these candidates, please feel free to share.