Sometimes history repeats itself, sort of. The Democratic Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party in Minneapolis, for the second convention in a row, will not endorse a Mayoral candidate.
Competition this year has seen a fierce attack on Hodges’ incumbency with Councilmember Jacob Frey and Raymond Dehn coming after and now surpassing Hodges seat. All three received thunderous applause when each of their nominations were announced.
Four years ago, the DFL Convention came to an impasse between former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrews and Mayor Betsy Hodges that went late into the night. Mayor Betsy Hodges ended up winning the election even though Andrews held a lead in delegate votes during the convention in 2013.
The convention this year was marred in confusion, a racial epitaph and Jono Cowgill’s name being misspelled on the ballot.
After nearly ten hours the first Mayoral ballot returned with Dehn 32.44%, Frey 27.82%, Hodges 24.19%, Tom Hoch 10.6%, Aswar Rahman 1.94%, Al Flowers 1.21%, and Captain Jack Sparrow rounding it off with .32%. 1.46% voted no endorsement.
A motion to adjourn the city convention was announced after a short prayer break. The motion received mixed signs of support and against the motion with two delegates pointing out that mathematically they would not reach the 60% threshold and other delegates saying it was their civic duty to continue with the ballots.
The debate about whether to adjourn included a debate on whether the motion to adjourn was valid. This confused delegates with the Chair asking people multiple times if they were for or against the amendment and with more than one delegate wanting to debate if the convention should be adjourned. There was also some question about what a Aye or no vote meant for the amendment. Aye means motion is sustained. The vote on the amendment on whether or not the adjournment motion was valid passed.
Once the debate was back on track, a motion to extend the debate was made and did not pass muster. A vote by voice was too close to call which required a visual vote by holding up delegate badges. The adjournment of the Minneapolis City Committee passed meaning there will be no endorsement by the DFL for the Mayor of Minneapolis.
The delegate crowd had been hard to control throughout the entire evening. The DFL Convention Chair and Co-Chairs refused to recognize multiple delegates saying their motions were out of order. Delegates tried multiple times to amend or speak on issues that had already been voted on.
One delegate, who was not called on when she was at a microphone, asked a co-chair if he “would like to borrow her glasses” after he said he did not see her.
The motion the delegate wanted to speak on, which she was against, already had three delegates against the motion. Convention rules state only three delegates may speak for and against any motion.
Speakers routinely tried to hush the crowd throughout the day and multiple delegates complained that they could not hear, with one citing the Hodges delegates for being excessively loud and another citing an issue with the speaker system.
During the first balloting, which took over five hours to start, confusion over the rules regarding freezing of the floor, which means no one is let into the room and voting commences, led to the Chair opening the doors back up to let delegates in to vote on their endorsements for the Park Board, even through three separate DFL Chairs said the doors would be closed.
We choosing openness instead of being right,” said the Co-hair.
DFL Co-Chair says you can “lynch” us
After unfreezing the convention, the Co-Chair, perhaps frustrated with the delegates becoming unruly, said that anyone can come to the DFL Party Chairs if they had an issue and specifically mentioned that if delegates wanted to “lynch” them, they could. Almost immediately groans from the crowd emerged.
A delegate then motioned that the Co-Chair should apologize for using the offensive term. To which, the Co-Chair blamed his age saying he often heard it on the TV show Gun Smoke. The Co-Chair said he was sorry for using the term and he would “personally apologize” to anyone that wanted him to.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, a lawyer and civil rights activist who is running for Mayor but opted out of seeking DFL endorsement said
“That’s an outrageous comment. The ignorance and insensitivity being displayed merely reinforces my decision to opt out of the DFL endorsement process.”
There were multiple confrontations between delegates and one between a delegate and a staff member.
A staff member announced that another staff member had been “assaulted” by someone at the convention and moving forward there would be a zero tolerance policy regarding violence or harassment of staff members.
According to the Sgt. At Arms, a staff member asked an attendee to string a ribbon through the attendee’s badge, as per the convention rules. The attendee ignored the staff member and pushed passed. The attendee was allowed to stay.
Another confrontation happened outside the convention room between a man and woman with a crowd around them, the cause was unknown.
One staff member was involved in a shouting match with a person in front of one of the convention room doors. According to the staff member, the person did not have credentials and the staff member told them to leave.
Dehn, Frey, Hodges, and Hoch along with Levy-Pounds will face off in the upcoming election in November.
Most Park Board elections were able to breach the 60% threshold. Below are those that received endorsements:
Park Board at-large – Londel French, Russ Henry, Devin Hogan
Park Board District 1 – Chris Meyer
Park Board District 2 – Kale Severson
Park Board District 3 – No endorsement
Park Board District 4 – Jono Cowgill
Park Board District 5 – Steffanie Musich
Park Board District 6 – Brad Bourn (uncontested)