Jim Carlson

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Jim Carlson
Minnesota State Senate, District 51
In office
January 8, 2013 - present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 2
Base salary$31,140.90/year
Per diem$86/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Minnesota State Senate District 38
2007 - 2011
Office website
Campaign website
Jim Carlson (b. February 17, 1947) is a Democratic member of the Minnesota State Senate, representing District 51. He was first elected to the chamber in 2012.


Carlson graduated from Dunwoody Institute with a Technical Certificate in 1967, and earned his bachelor's degree in Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1973. Now retired, his professional experience includes working as a manufacturing manager.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Carlson served on the following committees:

Minnesota Committee Assignments, 2015
Transportation and Public Safety


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Carlson served on the following committees:

Minnesota Committee Assignments, 2013
Transportation and Public Safety


Campaign themes


Carlson's website highlighted the following campaign themes:[1]


  • Excerpt: "If our children are to compete in the global marketplace, we need to continue our state’s legacy of having the best education system in the nation. Jim will make it a top priority to relieve skyrocketing college tuition costs."

Honest, Active Leadership

  • Excerpt: "Jim stands for honest, active leadership. He understands that doing the people’s business requires a full-time commitment. Minnesotans deserve a strong voice in the State Senate. "

Jobs and Economic Growth

  • Excerpt: "He believes that a rising tide must lift all boats, and a growing economy must create family-supporting jobs to expand the middle class."

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Excerpt: "Citizens and businesses are demanding a real commitment to our district’s infrastructure. Jim will be a strong voice for innovative solutions to reduce congestion and adequately fund roads."

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Excerpt: "Honest government means honest accounting of real needs and resources. Jim supports pay as you go government, not gimmicks, not smoke-and-mirrors accounting. Our children cannot succeed carrying a mountain of debt."



See also: Minnesota State Senate elections, 2012

Carlson won election for State Senate in district 51. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary on August 14 and defeated Ted Daley (R) in the general election on November 6.[2]

Minnesota State Senate, District 51, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Carlson 53.2% 23,969
     Republican Ted Daley Incumbent 46.8% 21,096
Total Votes 45,065


See also: Minnesota State Senate elections, 2010

Carlson lost re-election to the 38th District seat in 2010. He had no primary opposition. Ted Daley ran for the seat on the Republican ticket. The general election took place on November 2, 2010.[3]


See also: Minnesota State Senate elections, 2006

On November 7, 2006, Carlson won election to the 38th District Seat in the Minnesota State Senate, defeating Mike McGinn (R).[4]

Minnesota State Senate, District 38 (2006)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Jim Carlson (DFL) 16,916 53.59%
Mike McGinn (R) 14,622 46.32%
Write-In 28 0.09%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Carlson is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Carlson raised a total of $240,785 during that time period. This information was last updated on December 21, 2013.[5]

Jim Carlson's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Minnesota Senate, District 51 Won $53,492
2010 Minnesota Senate, District 38 Defeated $69,357
2008 Minnesota Senate, District 38 Not up for election $16,666
2006 Minnesota Senate, District 38 Won $61,357
2004 Minnesota House, District 38B Defeated $39,913
Grand Total Raised $240,785


Carlson won election to the Minnesota State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Carlson raised a total of $53,492.


In 2006, Carlson collected $61,357 in donations.[6]

His five largest contributors in 2006 were:

Donor Amount
Public Fund $14,079
Minnesota DFL Party $2,000
38th Senate District DFL $1,124
Lakes and Plains Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners $500
Midwest Values PAC $500


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in Minnesota

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of Texas scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 25 through May 19.

Legislators are scored on bills of interest to an organization advocating "limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty."[7]
  • Legislators are scored on pro-life issues; committee, procedural and floor votes are counted.
  • Legislators are scored on seven business-related bills.
Legislators are scored on pro-choice issues.
  • Legislators are scored on votes of interest to an economically conservative organization.


In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 to May 20.

Legislators are scored "on key votes on issues concerning economic freedom, which includes taxes, budgets and spending, health care and more."[8]
  • Legislators are scored on pro-life issues; committee, procedural and floor votes are counted.
Legislators are scored on votes of interest to a socially conservative "pro-family" organization.[9]
Legislators are scored on "a wide range of issues including taxes, government spending, elections, childcare unionization, property rights and energy policy" per "the traditional values position."[10]
Legislators are scored on votes of interest to an economically conservative organization.
Legislators are scored on votes regarding reproductive issues.

Taxpayers League of Minnesota

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota, a Minnesota-based taxpayer advocacy organization, releases a legislative scorecard for the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota State Senate once a year. The scorecard gives each legislator a score based on how they voted in the prior legislative term on tax issues and “their efforts to balance the state budget without a tax increase.” The organization also compiles a legislator’s individual "Lifetime Score."[11]


Carlson received a score of 0% in the 2013 scorecard, ranking 66th out of all 67 Minnesota State Senate members.[12]


Carlson and his wife, Gayle, have two children.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Pam Wolf (R)
Minnesota State Senate District 51
2013- present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minnesota State Senate District 38
Succeeded by
Ted Daley (R)