Three incumbents in the race for City Council left their respective conventions Saturday afternoon without the DFL endorsement.
In the past, the DFL endorsement has been a key component to winning the November elections. In the most recent race in 2009, every candidate endorsed by the DFL party won the City Council election.
Council members in some wards faced the challenges of redrawn districts and changing demographics as well as previous political decisions that upset constituents. With all of these changes, along with ranked choice voting, the local November elections won’t be business as usual.
In the light of allegations of harassment and intimidation at the Ward 6 caucuses, delegates convened at St. Mary’s University for a full day of balloting. Eleven-year incumbent Robert Lilligren was up against challengers Mohamed Cali and Abdi Warsame.
The hall was primarily East African, and for many of the delegates it was their first convention. The seven-hour convention ran late into the day due to a series of challenges to the proceedings.
At five o’clock, Warsome won the ballot, with more than 60 percent of the vote, earning the DFL endorsement.
Maya Rao, reporter for the Star Tribune, tweeted, “After it was clear Warsame had overwhelming support, the other Somali candidate, Cali, dropped out with a gracious speech.”
Lilligren plans to continue his bid to retain his seat on the city council. According to the Star Tribune, Lilligren wasn’t convinced that the convention would “produce a fair outcome.”
Incumbent Lisa Goodman was unopposed, and received the DFL endorsement.
Lisa Bender and Kendal Killian were two candidates, along with incumbent Meg Tuthill, vying for the DFL endorsement in the recently redistricted Ward 10. The two challengers brought out a large number of delegates, which ultimately worked to Bender’s advantage. In the fifth round of balloting, Bender won the endorsement.
The Star Tribune reports that some delegates said they were looking for a candidate to represent renters and minorities. Other delegates reportedly wanted a fresh vision for business ideas, and didn’t agree with Tuthill’s support of restrictions on outdoor bar patios.
Killian has reportedly agreed to drop out of the race to support Bender’s campaign. Tuthill, after initially agreeing to suspend her campaign if she did not win the endorsement, is now questioning what the terms of suspension are. She is quoted in the Star Tribune as saying, “It didn’t say for how long, it didn’t say permanently, it didn’t say for 20 minutes, it didn’t say for four years….I don’t know.”
Incumbent John Quincy was unopposed, and received the endorsement of the DFL party. This will be his second time running for the City Council seat.
It was a close race between 15-year incumbent Sandy Colvin Roy and newcomer Andrew Johnson on Saturday at Roosevelt High School.
Johnson brought out enough delegates to consistently earn more votes during the balloting sessions than Colvin Roy. At the end of the day, he was unable to reach the 60 percent threshold that would give him the DFL endorsement, and delegates voted for no endorsement.
When asked how she was feeling following the convention, Colvin Roy responded, “I’m tired….I’ve always been endorsed on the first ballot before, so this is different.”
The night of the convention, Johnson posted to his Facebook campaign page, “Make no mistake, this was a huge victory!!!” He continued, “Our grassroots campaign challenged a well-funded incumbent with some of the best DFL campaigners in the state and came out ahead! Our momentum is incredible and we’re going to give it 110 percent all the way until November.”
At this point, both Colvin Roy and Johnson will continue their bid for City Council.
- Ward 1, May 4 at 9 a.m., Edison High School;
- Ward 2, May 7th at 7 p.m., Anne Sullivan School;
- Ward 3, May 4th at 10 a.m., DeLaSalle High School;
- Ward 4, May 4th at 9 a.m., Creekview Park;
- Ward 5, May 18th at 10 a.m., North Commons Park;
- Ward 8, May 11th at 9:30 a.m., Washburn High School;
- Ward 9, May 11th at 10 a.m., South High School;
- Ward 13, May 11th at 10 a.m., Washburn High School.
June 15th at 10 a.m., Minneapolis Convention Center
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