Late Start for the Minneapolis DFL Convention

The Minneapolis DFL Convention is meeting today to vote on who they will endorse in upcoming city elections and on any resolutions that are brought forth.

The convention, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, uses delegates from the community to decide who the party will endorse.

City Council endorsements have already been selected in previous caucuses which leaves the convention with the duty of endorsing candidates for the Park Board, Board of Estimate and Taxation, and Mayor.

The convention, which had an original start time of 10:00 AM was delayed due to long lines at the registration desk. The convention ended up being convened at 10:50 AM. At 11:00 Am there was still long lines at the registration desk.

The convention is a bloated assembly (much like the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention) that all but ensures incumbent and well known candidates are endorsed. Although four years ago the convention went into the late hours of the night after a candidate for Mayor was not endorsed. Mayor Betsy Hodges ended up winning the election even though former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrews held a lead in delegate votes during the convention in 2013.

Endorsements require a 60% threshold to receive the DFL’s endorsement. If that is not passed the election can have multiple DFL candidates running, letting the voters of Minneapolis decide instead of hand picked delegates.

While the Park Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation are on the convention docket, the main focus and source of contention is the Mayoral race. Although likelihood that this convention will run as late as it did in 2013 is minimal. Hodges’ only serious contender is City Councilmember Jacob Frey, who has seen a rise in support, even though Hodges and Frey run on mostly the same platform.

A vocal and notable absence from this year’s convention is Nekima Levy-Pounds, a lawyer and civil rights activist running for Mayor, who decided not to seek the DFL endorsement. Levy-Pounds said on her Facebook page that she is not seeking the endorsement because

 …it is antiquated, a waste of time and money, and often excludes people of color, immigrants, and newcomers to DFL politics.

The rules regarding endorsement can be confusing for those not already firmly entrenched in local politics. Among the 33 rules and their subsections are time limits for debates and speeches by delegates and candidates. For example, debates will be terminated once 3 speakers from each side have been heard with each person given 2 minutes to talk about any one topic.

The rules also enforce candidates not receiving more than 10% of the first ballot to be dropped, with each subsequent ballot raising the threshold by 5%. At the end of the fourth ballot, the last ranked candidate will be dropped but not if there are only two candidates.

Resolutions can also be presented and passed as long as they meet certain rules such as, being of citywide importance and having 10% or more signatures from eligible delegates and alternatives.

The DFL Convention Program can be found here. It lists out the rules for the convention and the DFL Constitution and Bylaws.

Follow @wassonisawesome on Twitter and The Civic Observer for updates throughout the day.

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    Mark likes to drink with his dog and lose friends. Follow him on Twitter @wassonisawesome for updates on protests and retweets of Things White Folks Like.

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