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DFL state convention live blog

by Eric Ferguson on June 1, 2014 · 8 comments

I’m at the DFL state convention, and I’ll be live blogging it, which means I’ll be posting updates below. The video above is an introduction similar to this, just for kicks. Feel free to subscribe to my channel. I may post video updates if opportunity arises, but I’ll generally be where people are trying to talk or people are trying to hear, so no promises, but I’ll see if I can show some of what goes on at a convention. Otherwise I’ll be posting what’s happening, maybe with an opinion since I’m allowed to do that. It’s a blog you know, and I’m not pretending to be a reporter or to be without biases. Jump to a preview of what’s going to happen.
 
Late Saturday update: The Saturday portion of this live blog got very long and made the front page a long scroll, and there are other posts worth reading. So I’m putting the “read more” below this paragraph, and the time stamped updates start on the jump. As expected, life required my presence at home, but I plan to live blog Sunday too, if I can get The Uptake’s stream working for me (quickie update: it worked). I suppose it depends on traffic, but I should have a better connection anyway. The mining resolution is expected to be the controversial part of the platform debates. Guess we’ll watch and see. Some things, like the constitution changes, might be inside baseball, but leave a question in the comments and I’ll try to answer.
 

Friday 4:40 The most controversial policy issue looks likely to be the mining resolution, which Dan Burns posted about yesterday. Mining in a “responsible” way is as generic as possible. Not much point even having the resolution. It needs to call for a damage deposit if it’s going to mean anything.
 
I wasn’t kidding about the SOS race being strongly contested. Both Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon were greeting people at the main entrance.
 
Kudos to the DFL staff. They were ready on time, and the hall is set up. Testing of video etc. in progress. It’s tougher than it looks when everything is smooth.
 
Friday 5:40 Nothing of course on the DFL side, but MNGOP have endorsed this guy for SOS and this guy for AG. I guess they have to run somebody. Maybe since calling himself “Doc” didn’t work for Severson in 2010, he can try something else this time. “Darth” maybe? Starts with a “D”.
 
Friday 11:00 An issue that could come up in the SOS contest is the re-enfranchisement of felons who completed their sentences. Current law requires them to finish probation and parole, and doesn’t provide for informing them when they have their rights back. Deb Hilstrom supports re-enfranchisement upon release, and says Steve Simon didn’t. Presumably they’ll address this during the convention.
 
MNGOP are still going this late on their Senate endorsement. Being at the DFL party was more fun. Go to The Uptake if you want to watch the MNGOP.
 
Saturday 9:45 I want to know how separate campaigns got their lit neatly and uniformly laid out on the delegates’ tables. One small sign this is not Will Rogers’ Democratic Party. Also, the dixiecrats of Rogers’ time are now the GOP base, which is probably the more important part.
 
Saturday 10:00 Blogger area doesn’t have outlets. Thanks to the DFL staff and DECC staff who got me power. I’ll feel bad if I’m the only one using it.
 
I went to the training session on the 2014 campaign field strategy. I won’t give away the game because I’m a partisan, but a kudo to the DFL field operation for not just mentioning in the literature that voters don’t need a photo ID, but they said “photo ID”, not “voter ID”. “Voter ID” is a framing gripe of mine. Not all forms of acceptable voter ID, which you need to register, have photos. We don’t want people with valid ID but not drivers ;licenses to sit home. The GOP sometimes spreads disinformation, and more innocently, sometimes voters with language or speech difficulties show ID to election judges and the wrong idea gets around. I’m not giving anything away saying the ground game is vital for the DFL and volunteers are needed.
 
Panorama of convention hall. Click to enlarge.
 
Saturday 10:45 Why does a convention need an invocation? A priest gave a blatantly sectarian prayer. Big time inclusion fail, DFL. There was a very nice moment of silence for Jim Oberstar. Still can’t believe such an effective congressman was tossed out for an empty jacket like Chip Cravaack. Not surprised Cravaack was gone in one term.
 
Saturday 10:55 Duluth mayor Don Ness spoke. He was unopposed in his last reelection and from the statistically significant source of one local who’s politically active, he’s done a bang up job and is quite popular. He’s likely on the list of serious candidates for future statewide office. Of course, with a DFL incumbent in everything but SOS, we’re going to have a crowded bench. Good problem to have.
 
Saturday 11:15 Video to honer Jim Oberstar. Real workhorse. He’d have been frustrated watching the House just repeal Obamacare again and call it a week.
 
Standing ovation for Amy Klobuchar. You have to see her speak to appreciate what a strong public speaker she is. She has a structure of going from funny to poignant to rousing. To hazard a prediction, she’ll be on the list of 2016 VP candidates for Hillary Clinton, and on the long list of presidential candidates if Hillary doesn’t run.
 
Saturday 11:45 Video on the DFL’s 70th anniversary. It formed in 1944 when the Farmer-Labor Party and Minnesota Democrats decided that they were splitting the left-leaning vote and handing elections to the MNGOP. The present DFL is remarkably orderly when considering how factionalized it started. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman spoke and contrasted Minnesota to Wisconsin. Very briefly, but a campaign theme to hit Republicans with. I suppose the Wisconsin Republicans will use the same contrast, because Minnesota hasn’t made nearly as much progress at tearing down the schools, increasing unemployment, or blowing apart the budget.
 
Rules for nominating a candidate have gotten stricter since the last gubernatorial convention, probably because perennial candidates who maybe received no votes but their own had equal time with serious candidates and dragged out the day.
 
Saturday 12:15 Rebecca Otto is the lone nominee for auditor. Candidates can use their time how they want. Otto’s husband/campaign manager Shawn introduced a band featuring their son. There was a momentary technical delay — It’s live folks! In case any delegates are checking this, turn the signs around. They’re behind you, not on stage. In her speech, Otto mentioned that her MNGOP predecessor put partisan material in audit reports. Endorsement by acclimation. She thanked labor, sort of standard, but much of labor supports the sulfide mining projects so there might be some hard feelings. Otto mentioned the government shutdown. Voters could forget already if DFLers don’t remind them.
 

 
Saturday 12:40 Video about Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, who isn’t seeking reelection. She was a city council member and state legislator from Duluth, and may have helped Dayton carry the Northeast in the 2010 primary. I’m skeptical of the idea the lieutenant governor candidate has any effect. Though I expect the MNGOP to make an issue of Tina Smith being metro, I doubt it matters. For those new to Minnesota, I should mention the lieutenant governor runs on a ballot line with the governor.
 
Ryan Winkler spoke about the minimum wage. Hopefully all Democrats have figured out this is a good issue. People at the bottom of the wage scale will get much closer to the dignity of living off their own paycheck, and the taxpayers have a lower subsidy to low wage employers.
 
Up to AG. Lori Swanson has a stage full of people seconding her nomination and mentioning ways she’s helped people, like with arbitration agreements and hospital interest rates. Endorsed by acclimation. Swanson quoted Teddy Roosevelt, “Nobody should be above the law or below it’s protection.” Consumer arbitration agreements is something unknown to most of us haven’t personally run into that.
 
Saturday 1:00 Tom Bakk hit the Wisconsin contrast. Yep, that’s a campaign theme. Anyone know if Wisconsin Democrats are hitting that theme too? From the other way obviously. Memorial video for DFLers who passed since the last convention.
 
Saturday 1:15SOS time. There’s a video tribute to Mark Ritchie, the incumbent who isn’t seeking reelection. He’s speaking now to a standing ovation. An experienced observer (not me, someone smart) sees much more support for Steve Simon. based on counting shirts, watching campaign staff activity and demeanor, and like me, bits of anecdotes. Predicts first ballot win. The SOS candidates will have a strict time limit for presentation, followed by a Q&A. If you haven’t checked The Uptake’s live stream, go now.

 AG Lori Swanson is still working the floor like she has a race, which is a good way to avoid tempting someone into opposing you. At least that’s my theory on why safe incumbents keep working the base.
 
Saturday 1:30 Balloting is where conventions can get confusing. Leave questions in the comments, and I’ll try to explain. Based on that scientific method of sign waving, Hilstrom’s support is mostly in CD8 and 3, some in 6. Not much in 5, 1, or 2. Simon has much broader support except 1. Maybe CD1 just isn’t demonstrative.
 
Saturday 1:50 Debra Hilstrom stressed the restoration of felons voting rights and campaign finance. Even when their rights are restored, they often don’t know, so legal voters sit home. Former SOS Joan Growe introducing Steve Simon. Standing ovation for Growe. She held the office for I think 24 years, put in place same day registration. To be fair, she isn’t talking about herself. That’s my attempt at context. She praised Simon for no-excuse absentee voting and opposing photo ID. Simon brought up Citizens United right away. He talked about election laws he wrote. Sion got bigger applause, though claps don’t get counted int he teller room. No boos for either candidate. Everyone being polite.
 
Saturday 2:00 Q&A. Both promised to abide by the endorsement. On what they did to oppose photo ID, Simon mentioned debating Mary Kiffmeyer. Hilstrom mentioned working in House against it and campaigning around the state. On local option for RCV, Hilstrom saying for with standardization, not different methods everywhere. Simon wrote bill that didn’t get through last session. 2103 campaign finance bill, Simon voted yes, said gift ban was lousy but rest of bill good. Hilstrom voted for House version, against conference version because of lifting gift ban. That was short Q&A. Floor is being frozen.
 
Saturday 2:20 During balloting, took a glance at Twitter. Well, looks like I was prescient in my remarks on judicial nominations. Scroll down to the preview below to see what I mean. I’m curious for the story of how McFadden got MNGOP nod when Chris Dahlberg was substantially ahead.
 
Saturday 3:00 First ballot due soon. Keith Ellison speaking about the difference drop-off Democrats made in 2010, and the need to win in a blowout, not just eke out wins. The Ellison campaign is having a campaign office grand opening and doorknock June 21. We need every DFLer to pound the pavement. Betty McCollum referred to the men in the DFL part of the Minnesota House delegation as her brothers. Should could have been mildly polite if she didn’t like them, so I guess they get along. She mentioned climate change, equal pay, immigration and minimum wage. Good news, maybe that means House Dems get that they need a national agenda. Localizing was disastrous in 2010.
 
Saturday 3:15 House DFL caucus on stage. Erin Murphy listing accomplishments. The House is in the tough spot this election, since that’s where Republicans will focus, since the statewide races don’t look promising. Like Keith Ellison, her theme is Democrats can’t get home. Plea for doorknocking and helping with GOTV. Paul Thissen says DFL legislature has a good story to tell. Speeches suggest the DFL will be on offense with a concrete message. Not having to explain failure, unlike MNGOP in 2012. Thissen stresses GOTV too. Hopefully Democrats have figured out the secret to winning. If Democrats get out to vote, that’s enough for Democrats to win.
 
Saturday 3:30 The mining resolution will be pulled for special consideration, which means it will be debated tomorrow morning. That could be contentious. The people who will get the jobs and the people who will get the acidic runoff have different views. Why is it so hard for the mining companies just to say, “We’ll pay a damage deposit to show we can do this responsibly?”
 
Saturday 3:40 Mike Obermueller introduced by that clever dancing insurance company ad. He’s going after John Kline on Obamacare. Now if only all Democrats would figure out that if they don’t get after the Republicans on Obamacare, the Republicans will be using it against them. There’s no ducking, and ducking shouldn’t be a thought when millions now have access to the health care system and we can all be sure of getting access despite unemployment and pre-existing conditions.
 
Deb Hilstrom taking the stage to a standing ovation. Simon must have won on the first ballot, or at least been just a few ballots shy. She stressed disenfranchised felons again. Those concession speeches are always hard for the candidates. Going out gracefully can’t hurt future prospects. Steve Simon has been endorsed by acclimation. He said very nice things about Deb Hilstrom. I used that panorama function I just figured out this morning, click to enlarge:
 

 
Saturday 3:50 Sharon Sund speaking. She’s the candidate for CD3. She mentioned Erik Paulsen’s favorables are underwater, so this race is winnable. Click to enlarge:
 

 
Saturday 4:00 Video introduction of CD candidate Joe Perske starring his mother, wife, and daughters. In his speech he mentioned Michele Bachmann. Wouldn’t it be entertaining if associating Tom Emmer with Bachmann was taken as an attack with voters in the district? In theory CD6 should be the toughest district for the DFL, despite being open, because of the conservative lean. He’s a good speaker, which helps.
 
Saturday 4:45 Video tribute to the late Joan Mondale. Time for governor nominations. Mark Dayton and Tina Smith endorsed by acclimation. First time I’ve seen her speak and she’s polished. Given her background is as a staffer, speaking skills weren’t assumed. She’s hitting the MNGOP for the 2011 shutdown (obviously reading my pleadings with DFLers to bring that up over and over; obviously; sure) Articulate on minimum wage. She’s personable in person, or at least I liked her. She introduced Dayton, who gave out his home phone number. I was to busy fumbling with the camera, sorry. Hey, it’s just me here. Didn’t manage a picture either. Dayton mentioned the right to organize and bargain collectively, which is better than a shoutout to “labor”. That throws it a bit in the Republicans’ faces. He’s going after GOP for going after schools and refusing to raise taxes on upper incomes. He ran on “tax the rich”, and he said it over and over so no one doubted his message in 2010. Maybe 2014 will be “taxed the rich and balance the budget”. Nice to have debates on something other than which vulnerable people we’re going to kick in the groin. Listing accomplishments, minimum wage got the biggest cheer. Big cheer for eliminating school debt. “Republican deficits turned into DFL surpluses”. The thing that should scare the GOP in terms of message is DFL candidates running on “how well we did” rather than “how Republicans are screwing up.” Always better to be on offense than defense. Dayton brought up the stadium. He’s not backing down from that. Some of the base is still angry about that, though the thing that might cause some base to sit home is his opposition to medical marijuana, as Two-Putt’s post made clear. The bill that passed didn’t go far enough, partly to get the governor’s signature. He praised his outgoing and incoming lieutenant governors. I’m guessing Solon was chosen for the part of the state she comes from, and Smith was chosen to help govern. Otherwise, I assume he would have followed the conventional wisdom to choose a running mate from a different part of the state.
 
Video of Bill Clinton talking about voter suppression. Huge issue in places where photo ID and other restrictions on voters imposed by GOP which thinks voting Democratic is fraud by definition.
 
Panorama didn’t work this time. Click to embiggen:
 

 
Franken campaign getting their signs out.
 
Saturday 5:20 Video introduction of Al Franken. I’m guessing the videos will be on the DFL’s Youtube channel. Not a lot of point showing them just to the choir. Amy Klobuchar introducing Franken. New cheer, “five and a half more years!” Klobuchar said she actually like the Frankens. Many senators don’t actually get along just because they’re from the same state. Al still tears up when talking about Paul Wellstone. He’s not the only DFLer who does. I sometimes think Wellstone’s death helped the DFL in that it caused many DFLers to step up, now that Wellstone wasn’t there to do it. Crud, I just teared a bit. Klobuchar mentioned Franken got emergency heating assistance done and helped vets affected by Agent Orange get benefits. Changed rating agency regulation to make AAA rating mean something. Another Wellstone reference. Klobuchar knows how to reach the base.
 
Saturday 5:45 Franken endorsed by acclimation. Franken said he’d take back the seat held by Humphrey, Mondale, and Wellstone — he just didn’t say by how much. This time, he’ll win by more than last time. If Franken wins by a sizable margin, he’ll lose his best laugh line. Talking seriously about the mental health in schools bill. Doing the job is about helping people, not about making a point or seeing who’s right. Franken wrote tine energy section of the farm bill. He and Klobuchar worked together on student issues. He’s been on top of the student debt issue. Democrats are nuts not to take up that issue when students tend to drop-off at election time. He didn’t say that; that was me editorializing. Franken is talking a lot of specific accomplishments. He may feel he still has to push back on the idea he’s just a comedian or talk radio host. I used to listen to his radio show, so I wasn’t surprised he could be quite wonky. He’s getting to his issue, net neutrality. Comcast has 114 lobbyists; they were 107 just last month. Difficulty defending net neutrality, supported by almost everyone except big cable, shows power of special interests. From how specific they got, I get the impression he and Klobuchar are genuinely close. Klobuchar helped him avoid crying during Jim Oberstar’s funeral. Franken’s hitting the emotional buttons. He said his grandson will be well off, but that’s how it’s supposed to be for every kid. Have to get back middle class for promise for our kids. Invest in education and R&D, not tax breaks for the top. Do we want a senator who stands up for the Koch brothers and the Wall Street banks, or for the middle class? He mentioned right to organize, immigration, and climate change. I’m glad to see Democrats making that a prominent issue. Franken stressed the importance of the ground game. If we all help, we can win. Franken is telling the Wellstone “you can take this guy story” where Republicans tried to turn his gestures into the “angry Al” ad. Maybe he’s daring them to try again.
 
Speech over. If he’s going after the financiers, and the MNGOP endorsed Mike McFadden … could be fun.
 

 
Sunday 10:30 The convention chair is instructing delegates on the process for the platform. So the most intriguing part of the day, arguably of the convention, the mining debate, is coming. It’s the only item set aside for special consideration. They’re debating a motion to indefinitely delay the debate on the grounds neither side will reach 60%. The motion is backed by speakers on both sides of the issue. They’re arguing it’s pointless to divide the party when agreement will never happen.
 
Sunday 10:40 The motion passed what sounded like unanimously (I’m not there, but listening to the Uptake’s stream, so I can’t be as sure). They’re having a 30 minute period to fill in the rest of the platform ballot.
 
To follow up on Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon’s state House seats, with the filing deadline being tomorrow, those endorsing conventions have to be today. Their senate districts had to have their convention already, but they delayed those House endorsements until the SOS result was known. I assume Hilstrom will be endorsed by acclimation. There are two candidates for Simon’s seat, Hopkins city council member Cheryl Youakim, and state DFL outreach officer Eric Margolis. Voluntary disclosure, I know Eric Margolis, and I think he’d make a good state representative, so if I comment further on that race, just know I have a disclosed bias. Though I have no idea who will win.
 
Sunday 10:50 Regarding the HD46B endorsement, here’s the Twitter accounts of Eric Margolis and Cheryl Youakim. Aaron Klemz of Mining Truth was just interviewed by Mike McIntee on the Uptake stream and said the decision to put off the mining debate was agreed beforehand by leaders on both sides because they don’t want to split the party, and that contrary to reports/rumors the two sides are cordial to each other.
 
Sunday 11:00 So with the platform fireworks avoided, the remaining business is election of state directors and constitutional changes. Those can be inside baseball, but one is controversial among local unit chairs. There’s a proposal to require local units to elect officers in odd-numbered years, either through another convention or a business conference. Some units do that already, but others elect at the even-numbered year endorsing conventions, my SD included. Sounds esoteric, but if you’re a unit chair, like (voluntary disclosure repeated) me, you care. The argument is over which year is better for allowing new chairs to get up to speed before having to get really busy. I found the busiest time is caucus and convention planning, more so than the election year, plus my district is mostly in Minneapolis so every other odd-numbered year is in no sense a non-election year. The constitution chairs are explaining the proposed changes now.
 
Sunday 11:15 There’s a motion to delete the constitutional amendment I said was controversial, and the mover claims 200 signatures seconding. I suspect it will be deleted, given the response from the floor. A little parliamentary procedure note: if you speak about the substance of your motion while making it, besides wearing out other people’s patience, you use up one of your side’s speaking slots.
 
Sunday 11:20 The supporters argument is that it makes no sense to change in the middle of the election cycle. Personally, that was the easy part to cope with. I needed that year and half before planning caucuses to get to know people in my district and get them to know and trust me, so they would do things like say “yes” when I asked them to convene caucuses. Supporters of deleting are arguing that more people participate at a convention, so more people can have a vote in electing officers. Supporters of the change say the odd-numbered convention is a way to keep people involved in odd-numbered years. Right now, the procedure is each unit elects in either year, as they choose. A supporter of the change just said in the off-year, we’re doing nothing. Um, maybe wherever he is. My district keeps busy somehow every year. If we have no elections, we do issue stuff. Delegates just voted down a motion to extend debate. Maybe I should add I’m willing to try a new procedure for a cycle or two, and give it a chance to prove itself. Obviously I don’t like it, but we would likely adjust.
 
Sunday 11:30 Motion passed, so the proposal is deleted. No change. This was so far the most hotly contended matter of the convention other than the SOS endorsement.
 
Sunday 12:00 As a way to reach out to people elected to non-partisan public offices, public officials who identify as DFL will be able to join a convocation of DFL elected officials to elect their delegates to conventions. They had been required to run as a regular delegate, whereas congressmen and state legislators were automatic delegates.
 
The reasoning for making some officials automatic is after asking for an endorsement, they then have to run against their constituents for a delegate slot. There’s a similar provision in these amendments to make OU (organizing unit) chairs automatic delegates to their OU conventions, rather than having to run for delegate at the precinct caucuses, for the same reason; we have to oppose people in our precinct for delegate slots. Actually, we need that for the state convention, because after asking to be elected chair or vice chair, we then run for state delegate against the people whose votes we were just seeking for party office. Delegate election is actually one of the more contentious issues ongoing, probably because for so many activists, this is the one thing they run for themselves.
 
Sunday 12:15 Amendment to combine state level party officers. Voluntary disclosure again, occasional poster here Jacob Grippen is the current state secretary, and just spoke in favor of consolidation which would make secretary and treasurer one position, and move the vice chair’s duties to the outreach officer. The change wouldn’t apply to local units, but local units could adopt that structure. Throwing in my two cents as a unit chair, I like having the larger leadership group, for more brains to apply to whatever we’re working on. I’ll defer to Jacob as to how much work there is at the state level. Looks like a lot, but that’s from a distance. The debate on the floor is over workloads and which structure is more accountable.
 
The section to combine secretary and treasurer has been deleted. Separate discussion for vice chair and outreach. Opposing argument is too few officers if something goes wrong, like the chair leaves suddenly. I think that was deleted too. My Uptake connection went down for a bit. So party officer structure stays the same. Must be a bit frustrating for the people who worked on the constitution: all these proposals are to delete new provisions, and deletions are all passing.
 
Sunday 12:30 Amendment to require units not providing an accommodation to someone with a disability to provide an explanation. Passes.
 
SD46 endorsing convention starts at 3PM today.
 
The next amendment is on constituency caucuses endorsing candidates not endorsed by the relevant party unit. They can’t endorse in contradiction to the local unit, meaning they can’t endorse a different candidate, or endorse where the unit voted to have no endorsement. The question is about circumstances where there has been no endorsement vote by the local unit. If I understand it correctly (this stuff gets tricky), a constituency caucus could endorse, for example, a city council seat where there’s no city party to hold an endorsement. What if there is a local unit that deadlocked, like Minneapolis in last year’s mayoral race? This amendment apparently would stop any other units from endorsing. Currently, constituency caucuses can endorse before the unit in question, presumably to affect the unit’s decision, but afterwards must abide by the unit’s endorsement. So the caucuses are like non-geographic units.
 
The amendment failed.
 
Sunday 12:55 Debating making OU chairs and vice chairs automatic delegates to their OU convention. Opposition on grounds language doesn’t spell out these are in addition to the precinct’s delegates. Constitution chair says language elsewhere spells this out. Supporter points out unit chairs can’t get to their own caucus, and I will attest that’s true. I didn’t even try to get to mine, so I could put out fires and set up packet drop-off.
 
This one passed. I’m a delegate already to my next SD convention, yea! But I still have to run like anyone else for county and city delegate at caucuses, and state delegate at the SD convention, which was actually the problem I thought I’d discussed with the a member of the constitution commission. City and county isn’t always competitive, but state delegate always is.
 
Sunday 1:00 The last amendment is about coping with delegate allocations when a organizing unit is split between congressional districts. I’m going to admit I’ve never understood the half-votes. I got called away during the debate so looks like it failed, but I don’t know what that means. I missed the start of what is being debated now, so, sorry. I gather it’s pretty obscure, two committees having overlapping jurisdiction and trying to clean that up. Sounds like it passed, the committee responsibilities are cleaned (a big deal if you’re on those committees). That ends the constitutional debate.
 
Sunday 1:25 Moving on to election of at-large directors for the state executive committee. This is the top body of the party between state central committee meetings, and the state central committee is the top body between conventions. Nothing overrides the convention, but being once every two years, it’s not practical for routine governance. The nominations committee screened nominees, and reported a slate of candidates. They seek candidates that are together demographically and geographically representative. The candidates are gender balanced, meaning half are males and half females. The female half just passed without other nominations. Someone on the floor raised the point that labor was left out and made a nomination, and now there are a slough of nominations, even though the first speaker was wrong. There is someone from labor on the slate. Oops. Well, that dragged things out. Someone asked if they could subcaucus. Are you frikkin’ kidding? Yes, I hate subcaucuses as a method of election. They’re working on the procedure now. If they subcaucus, I’m going to scream and go get lunch.
Sunday 1:35 Actually, anyone who likes subcaucuses and doesn’t get why I hate them, please watch this. This is bollixed. Actually, I don’t know why the chairs didn’t rule subcaucusing out of order since this isn’t for electing delegates. It’s moot, the delegates wisely voted to not subcaucus.
 
Sunday 1:45 Maybe not. The vote was challenged and is being done over. Anyone who was nominated from the floor and supports this process, and gets elected, should be kicked in the rear if ever they miss a meeting. There are certain people whose presence at the delegate microphones I dread and no, they don’t know who they are, which is part of the problem, though I’m sure they would have some choice words for me in their defense.
 
Sunday 1:55 Getting meta a moment, I’m wrote most of this whole post quickly, with typos, and I reserve the right to just fix them however old they are.
 
Start swearing: the chair just ruled enough people wanted to subcaucus to use that procedure. Awful as subcaucusing is, especially at a large scale like a convention, using it for this election is utter nonsense. Someone is asking about the quorum. For the sake of those in the convention hall, I hope the quorum fails. I’m home though, and not sitting through subscaucusing whatever. Were I present, it would be time to pack up since this is the last order of business. I’ll probably write up observations later, probably after the filing deadline passes and we know for sure which races have contested primaries, and then we can talk about both parties’ slates.
 
Sunday 2:05 Never mind. There’s a lack of quorum, which should just end the convention, but there was a motion to adjourn, which passed. Reason prevailed. That’s always sweet.

 
Preview continued:
 
Actually, before getting into a preview of what’s going to happen and any predictions I care to risk, I do want to get into biases and conflicts of interest. So, for full disclosure, I’m the chair of a local unit of the DFL, Senate District 63 specifically, but I’m not posting as chair nor am I speaking for the DFL, state or local. If I say something stupid, don’t take it up with my district. Not their problem. Likewise, and yes I know long time readers know this, but for anyone new, I don’t speak for the other writers here. They will have their own takes on the convention, if they care to. We don’t have editors (other than maybe fixing each other’s typos because we’re just nice that way) or assignments. Actually, anyone can post. Go sign up for an account and get started.
 
OK, so, both state parties are convening on the same day. I believe that’s highly unusual, and the Republicans will get a lot more attention because they have a race for every public office whereas we don’t. The DFL currently holds every statewide office, and these conventions will be endorsing candidates for the US Senate seat currently held by Al Franken, governor and lieutenant governor, and what are referred to as the state constitutional offices: attorney general, state auditor, and secretary of state. With an asterisk, maybe judicial races. I’ll explain that in a bit. The Republicans will have endorsement contests for senator, governor, and secretary of state (SOS), but appear now to have just one candidate each for auditor and attorney general (AG). The DFL has incumbents expected to be endorsed without opposition for senate, governor, auditor, and AG. Minnesota puts lieutenant governor on a ballot line with the governor, like president and vice-president, and the gubernatorial candidate gets to pick their running mate, though in theory someone else could be endorsed. The one DFL contest will be for secretary of state, where two state representatives, Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon, are running strong campaigns. DFL candidates are likely to abide by the endorsement, whereas part of the intrigue among the Republicans is their losing candidates might challenge in the primary anyway.
 
I have no idea who will win on the MNGOP side. Yes I know, they’re the more interesting party this year, but I just don’t know. On our side, the uncontested races are easy to predict, so I guess I get no prognosticatorial credit on those. My information on the SOS race is bits of anecdotes, meaning how delegates were elected at my senate district convention and bits I heard from elsewhere. My limited information says Steve Simon is in the lead and I see him winning on the first or second ballot. If you bet based on that, then I guess you don’t know what “limited information” means. Also, you’re betting on endorsement races, really? Better odds than the lottery I guess.
 
The DFL expects to get through the endorsements on Saturday, which is also the only day I can attend due to other life conflicts, so I may not keep up with Sunday. Sunday is going to be platform, party constitution, and state directors. If I’m able to follow remotely, I’ll thank The Uptake for streaming the convention, if it’s able to. Depends on whether they have the funds to stream both conventions as they hope, and whether the Republicans let them in. My recollection is they don’t always.
 
Regarding that asterisk on endorsing for judicial elections, Minnesota’s law prohibiting parties from endorsing, or candidates from declaring partisan identification, was tossed about eight years ago, so parties can endorse. The Republicans have endorsed a few times, though I don’t know if they plan to this year as they haven’t every year. The DFL doesn’t endorse for judicial races as party policy, and I haven’t seen a judicial candidate run as a DFLer. A few have run as Republicans or at least as conservatives, some running more than once. I’m hoping this isn’t the year the independent money comes in to fund expensive judicial campaigns. We don’t want to become Wisconsin or Texas.

Lynnell Mickelsen May 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Great posting, Eric. Really appreciate hearing the news.

Hank Fischer June 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm

terrific blogging performance Eric. Live blogging the DFL State Convention is a hard task and you did it with great aplomb.

Eric Ferguson June 1, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Thanks Hank. I truly appreciate that.

Steve Linnerooth June 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I was personally informed on Sunday morning by the person who opposed the “labor” candidate that because that candidate signed a petition allowing the proposed Palestinian Caucus to apply to the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules Committee for a charter that the speaker would not support the “labor”candidate. Personally I know that the candidate informed the caucus representative why his charter would be rejected but I know that the candidate firmly believes that if the DFL party is the “big tent party” we say we are everyone deserves to have their voice heard.

Grace Kelly June 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Nicely done, I even liked the parts that I was there for.

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