Minneapolis and St. Paul DFLers ponder future of endorsement process

Hundreds of St. Paul residents recently packed into a warm middle school auditorium and spent 10 tedious hours trying to agree on which DFL mayoral candidate to rally around.

The outcome was predictable: They picked no one.

As Minneapolis DFLers prepare for their convention Saturday, many anticipate the same result — and are contemplating whether the process needs to change.

Mayoral hopefuls in the DFL-dominated cities still want that stamp of approval. Many Minneapolis candidates plan to step down if someone else gets the endorsement, which typically results in the endorsee getting more money, volunteers and votes. But candidates and campaign staff said conventions should be more inclusive and efficient. Some residents are even asking: With ranked-choice voting, should caucuses and conventions continue?

“We need to have a conversation about whether it makes sense to continue to have an endorsing process in Minneapolis. I think there’s an intense criticism of it, and I think it’s a fair question to ask,” Minneapolis DFL Party Chair Dan McConnell said.

Nonetheless, the convention remains an important first test for campaigns, he said. It shows whether candidates can organize support and whose message resonates with voters.

On Saturday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will be vying for the DFL endorsement against seven other candidates, including state Rep. Ray Dehn, Council Member Jacob Frey and former Hennepin Theatre Trust leader Tom Hoch. The election is Nov. 7. Read more. 

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