David Bolgrien

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David Bolgrien
David Bolgrien.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Duluth School Board, District 4
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Ph.D.University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
ProfessionResearch biologist
Campaign website
David Bolgrien campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
David Bolgrien was a candidate for the District 4 seat on the Duluth school board. Bolgrien received enough votes to pass through the September 10 primary election but lost in the general election on November 5, 2013.


David Bolgrien resides in Duluth, Minnesota. Bolgrien earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and is employed as a research biologist by the Environmental Protection Agency.[1] He volunteers at Laura MacArthur and Lincoln Park elementary schools and Denfeld High School.[2]



See also: Duluth Public Schools elections (2013)


David Bolgrien lost to incumbent Art Johnston in his bid to win the District 4 seat in the general election on November 5, 2013. Johnston and Bolgrien defeated Justin Perpich in the September 10 primary election to continue on to the general election.


Duluth Public Schools, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngArt Johnston Incumbent 54% 1,796
     Nonpartisan David Bolgrien 45.7% 1,518
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 11
Total Votes 3,325
Source: Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, "Results for Selected Contests in School District No. 709 - Duluth," accessed December 18, 2013

Duluth Public Schools, District 4 Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Bolgrien 37.6% 463
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngArt Johnston Incumbent 33.4% 411
     Nonpartisan Justin Perpich 28.9% 356
Total Votes 1,230
Source: Duluth, Minnesota, "Summary Report," accessed October 24, 2013


David Bolgrien reported $2,204.42 in contributions and $2,840.87 in expenditures to Duluth Public Schools, which left his campaign with $636.45 in debt.[3]


David Bolgrien received endorsements for his campaign from the Duluth Federation of Teachers and the Duluth News Tribune.[2][4] Former candidate Justin Perpich endorsed Bolgrien following his defeat in the September 10 primary election.[5]

Campaign themes

In response to a survey from the Duluth News Tribune, Bolgrien argued that there was one significant issue facing the school district:[1]

We must increase student achievement. Success is measured by increased enrollment, graduation rates, test scores and school rankings. Underperforming students must be made proficient. High-performing students must be continually challenged. Our graduates must be competitive in college, employment and life. This will help win back students to the district.

What was at stake?

There were four seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. The only incumbent who filed for re-election was District 4 member Art Johnston, who faced challenger David Bolgrien and who defeated Justin Perpich in the primary election. District 1 incumbent Ann Wasson did not file for the election, which left her seat vacant for candidates Joseph Matthes and Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, both of whom defeated Marcia Stromgren in the primary. Neither at-large members Mary Cameron or Tom Kasper ran for re-election, so two newcomers won their seats. Neither Joshua Bixby nor Loren Martell received enough votes to proceed to the general election, where Annie Harala, Henry L. Banks, Harry Welty and Nancy Nilsen competed for the seats.

About the district

See also: Duluth Public Schools, Minnesota
Duluth Public Schools is located in St. Louis County, Minnesota
Duluth Public Schools is located in St. Louis County, Minnesota. The county seat of St. Louis County is Duluth. According to the 2010 United States Census, St. Louis County is home to 200,319 residents.[6]


St. Louis County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Minnesota in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in St. Louis County was $45,399 compared to $58,476 for the state of Minnesota. The poverty rate in St. Louis County was 16.0% compared to 11.0% for the entire state. The United States Census Bureau also found that 25.5% of St. Louis County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 31.8% in Minnesota.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2012[6]
Race St. Louis County (%) Minnesota (%)
White 93.0 86.5
Black or African American 1.5 5.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 2.3 1.3
Asian 1.0 4.4
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Z 0.1
Two or More Races 2.2 2.2
Hispanic or Latino 1.3 4.9

Presidential Voting Pattern[7]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 73,378 39,131
2008 77,351 38,742
2004 77,958 40,112
2000 64,237 35,420

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[8]

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