DFL Nominating Convention-Day 3, via The Uptake

UPDATE: Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, names a woman with the same first name–Rep. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley–as her running mate as the endorsed candidate for governor. Maye Quade is affirmed by acclamation.

UPDATE: Before the second ballot was counted, state auditor candidate Julie Blaha leads was endorsed by acclamation of party delegates after Jon Tollefson withdrew his name from consideration.

The second ballot is just closing.

Watch it all live here, via The Uptake.

The GOP wrapped up its convention in Duluth on Saturday.

The Democrats’ main piece of business Sunday is to offer its nomination for the open state auditor’s seat and to adopt a party platform.

Let’s catch up on the status of the parties’ nominations awarded thus far.


The Minnesota GOP wrapped up its Duluth endorsing convention Saturday after nominating Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson in his run for governor.

Tim Pawlenty, Johnson’s fellow Republican and the former governor, sidestepped the convention, saying he got in the race too late to compete for delegates. He plans to compete instead in the party’s Aug. 14 primary.

The GOP also endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, to run against DFL incumbent U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, a paramedic, was endorsed by the party to challenge sitting U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Both Smith and Klobuchar won the DFL’s endorsement in Rochester.

Doug Wardlow, constitutional attorney for Christian legal advocacy group the Alliance Defending Freedom and a former state representative, was endorsed for for attorney general.

Meanwhile, former Red Wing mayor and ex-state senator John Howe was backed by the GOP for secretary of state.

Pam Myhra, a former state representative who ran as lieutenant governor alongside gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert in 2014, received the GOP’s endorsement for state auditor.


Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, the former House majority leader, won the three-way battle for the DFL’s gubernatorial endorsement against two competitors–U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and outgoing State Auditor Rebecca Otto. In an unusual move, both Otto and Walz reportedly encouraged delegates to cast a vote for no endorsement. But the tactic failed to block Murphy from receiving the party nomination.

Otto removed her name after two ballots Saturday. Walz conceded the endorsement to Murphy after six ballots but then said he would take the race to a primary. Otto said she would spend the weekend thinking about her next move.

A political newcomer, Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan, stunned incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson by taking the DFL endorsement for that seat. Swanson actually led 52-47 percent after one ballot. But with Pelikan’s strong showing, she withdrew her name from consideration for the nomination.

Swanson said she would spend the week weighing her options. Those could include competing in the primary, or even throwing her hat back into the ring for governor, a race she considered competing in until announcing a few months ago that she would run for re-election instead.

In addition to endorsing Klobuchar and Smith for the U.S. Senate, Democrats also threw their support behind incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon.

DFL candidates for state auditor include Julie Blaha, a former secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Jon Tollefson, an LGBTQ advocate and government affairs specialist for the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Smith also faces a primary challenge from upstart candidate Richard Painter, a former associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush and a long-time Republican. Painter switched parties this year to challenge Smith for the seat to which she was appointed in January, following the resignation of U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

So what?

Given that nomination for governor, U.S. Senate and possibly other statewide races will remain unsettled even after this weekend’s conventions, there is a question as to how much this all matters.

Lori Sturdevant, the long-time editorial writer and columnist for the Star Tribune and one of the state’s most knowledgeable political thinkers, put her finger directly on that issue with a tart Tweet on Saturday afternoon. She wrote:

“Don’t know if #dFL2018 and #mngop delegates sense it, but others do: Two conventions that both lead to gubernatorial primaries will serve to diminish the future value of this exercise. The primary is taking precedent over these expensive, time-consuming, exclusive exercises.”

Food for thought….


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