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Arik Bjorn

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Arik Bjorn
2016 nominee for United States House of Representatives
Constituency2nd District
Personal details
Born (1973-08-06) August 6, 1973 (age 48)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Political partyDemocratic / Green
ResidenceColumbia, South Carolina
Alma materWheaton College (Illinois) (BA)
University of South Carolina (MLIS)
WebsiteArik Bjorn for Congress

Arik Bjorn is an American politician and writer. In 2016, Bjorn ran for U.S. Congress as the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for South Carolina's 2nd congressional district.

Bjorn was born and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Wheaton College, alma mater of Billy Graham, with a double degree in Archaeology and Ancient Languages, and from University of South Carolina with a Library Science master’s degree.[1] For nearly a decade, Bjorn managed the South Carolina SmartState Program,[2] a $2 billion knowledge economy research program.[3] He currently works at Richland Library,[4] a former National Library of the Year.

Bjorn is the author of several books, including Waiting for Civilization and Why Bad Things Happen to Good Parrots, which received a positive review from Free Times: “I enjoyed Why Bad Things Happen to Good Parrots as much as I enjoyed Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth—and that is saying a heck of a lot.”[5] Bjorn also released a collection of short stories, Birds of a Feather, in 2015. He is a frequent contributor to the websites Forward Progressives and Patheos.

During his 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress, Bjorn became just the second candidate in history to be endorsed by the South Carolina Democratic Party before its state primary.[6] Bjorn’s other 2016 campaign endorsements include National Education Association Fund, SC Equality, South Carolina AFL-CIO, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

Bjorn’s congressional campaign was noted for strong stances on Women’s rights,[7] investment in South Carolina’s infrastructure,[8] and direct engagement of the District’s growing Hispanic/Latino community.[9]

Bjorn debated incumbent Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC 2nd District) two times during the campaign: once on South Carolina Educational Television,[10] and also at a special debate before a mostly student audience at River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina.[11]

Following Bjorn’s defeat, in which he earned nearly 110,000 votes (36%) as a first-time candidate for office,[12] Bjorn informed The State that he would "consider taking on Wilson again, challenging for Republican state Rep. Kirkman Finlay’s S.C. House seat or running for governor in 2018.”[13]

Bjorn’s third grade daughter, Kat, was actively involved in his congressional campaign. She was featured in an interview with Auntie Bellum magazine during the campaign.[14]

Following the November 2016 General Election, Bjorn endorsed Congressman Keith Ellison (D – MN 5th District) for Democratic National Committee Chair: “Throughout my campaign, I numerous times cited Rep. Ellison as an exemplary figure of Democratic Party principles. No one in the field even approximates his qualifications.”[15]

Bjorn is also the co-founder and former director of a Richland County community arts festival,[16] and an active volunteer/fundraiser for Epworth Children’s Home.[17]


  1. Bjorn for Congress Campaign Website. "Arik Bjorn Announces Candidacy for 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  2. HICKMAN, WES. "SmartState a Smart Investment". University of South Carolina. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  3. CONWRIGHT, ANTHONY. "Meet the Progressive, Bernie Sanders Supporter Running for Congress in South Carolina". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  4. "Arik Bjorn's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  5. MOREHEAD, TODD. "The Bird is the Word". Free Times. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  6. WILKS, AVERY. "Fake Democrat? Black Faces Bjorn, Party in 2nd District Primary". The State. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  7. "Women Know There's a Better Way, So Does Arik Bjorn". Bonded. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  8. "Letters: Wilson Ignoring State's Infrastructure". The State. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  9. ARCHILA-ESCOBAR, LUCIA. "El Demócrata que le Exige a Trump que se Disculpe con su Hija". Viva Noticias. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  10. "Palmetto Scene: A Conversation with the Candidates: District 2". South Carolina Educational Television. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  11. "South Carolina 2nd Congressional District Debate". River Bluff High School. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  12. "Arik Bjorn". Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  13. WILKS, AVERY. "SC Democrats Mull Next Move after Big Losses on Election Day". The State. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  14. FORD, BETTY. "Talented, Articulate, and Ambitious: An Interview with Kat Bjorn". Auntie Bellum. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  15. MILLARD, HAL. "Jaime Harrison Makes Bid to Become Nation's Top Democrat". ColaDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  16. "New Leadership for the Rosewood Art (and Music!) Festival". Jasper. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  17. MOORE, ANDREW. "Community Helps Flood Victims Throughout the Midlands". GoUpstate. Retrieved November 22, 2016.

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