A Lonsdale Republican and first time political candidate has announced his intention to run for the 20B House seat currently occupied by Rep. Todd Lippert, DFL-Northfield.
With Joe Moravchik’s entry into the race, Republicans now have a contested convention on their hands in District 20B. Last December, Montgomery tractor-trailer driver Josh Gare said he would seek a rematch with Lippert, who he lost to in 2018.
Moravchik brings a varied background to the race. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, he spent six years as a high school history, geography and economics teacher in New Mexico and Wisconsin.
Physically active and involved in several sports from a young age, Moravchik also coached basketball, softball and track and field during his time as a teacher. In 1996, he decided to make a career change, entering the field of law enforcement. Moravchik spent a decade as a police officer with the Racine Police Department, Wisconsin’s third largest. He says he loved the job and felt exceptionally well suited to it. However, he was forced to retire early after being severely injured in an auto accident.
In 2007, he moved to Lonsdale with his wife Chris, who works at District One Hospital in Faribault. Moravchik said he looked at cities throughout the region before settling on Lonsdale thanks to strong schools, a tight knit community and proximity to the Twin Cities and Faribault.
“Our intention was not to stay in Lonsdale as long as we have but we really like living in southern Minnesota,” he said.
Once in Minnesota, Moravchik began studying law at William Mitchell College of Law and earned his law degree in 2011. During law school, he had the opportunity to intern with the Minnesota Legislature’s Public Safety Committee as well as the Rice County Attorney’s Office.
The Moravchiks are raising two teenage daughters, who are preparing to go off to college. Both are active student athletes with the New Prague High School Hockey, and their father sits on the board of New Prague’s Girls Hockey team’s booster club and its Youth Hockey Association.
As a first time candidate, Moravchik plans on working around the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic by introducing himself to local Republican delegates at a teleconference event Tuesday.
Moravchik said he plans to abide by the Republican endorsement, and hopes to earn that endorsement and plans on campaigning via phone and electronic communications. He argued that his background in both teaching and law enforcement makes him particularly well suited to represent the area in St. Paul.
“I am going to listen and learn what issues are important to people, and try to earn the trust and respect of voters,” he said. “I am going to be thoroughly prepared on the issues that people are interested in and concerned about in our district and the state. And I am going to be an independent thinker to always do what is best for people in our district and in all of Minnesota.”
District 20B includes Northfield and rural areas to its west, including Lonsdale, and further west into Le Sueur County In the 2016 election, the district went for Hillary Clinton by just a single percentage point, but Lippert won last time by about 11 points.
Republicans have traditionally performed very well in the rural portions of the district, particularly in recent years. However, Lippert was able to win the seat for the DFL thanks to a strong performance in his hometown.