Saturday, May 06, 2006

DFL CD 5 convention endorses peace candidate Keith Ellison

I spent more time at CD 5 than at the CD 3 convention, which is where I started out. I left before much happened, other than the usual (if somewhat more intense) bickering about the rules for sign placement, etc. This would have been more fair and less contentious if either certain campaigns were less spammy with their sign placement/less inclined to place complaints or if the representatives of the hosting DFL organization had been their earlier with clearly written out rules, providing more guidaince to the spammy campaigns before they had gotten out of control. I left after a complaint, too. And CD 5 was more relaxed, entertaining, full of the spirit of democracy and free speech. CD 3's stuffiness was unfortnate and does little to make it less irrelevant in the big scheme of statewide DFL politics, but I am glad that I took the time to make Peace First! more visible and available to delegates coming out of that district. I still have no idea who Wendy Wilde is.

My first impression of CD 5 was that the Nelson-Pallmeyer supporters were very numerous... they were visible, colorful, with yellow-golden crowns that reminded me in part of a burger franchise, and in part of the fact that in certain parts of Sumatra, everyone is a king. Nelson-Palmeyer ended up with 1 more delegate than Erlandson in the first round. I missed it, but Erlandson had a fit of some sort, with words like I'll see you in September as he left the stage to hisses and boos. It is too bad, because I do respect the decision to take the DFL nomination to the larger number of DFLers in a primary, in general, but in Erlandson's case I am afraid it won't likely work. I take a tiny bit of pleasure in seeing, but I have some sympathy for, DFL insiders forced into taking the outsiders route. Who knows, it did work for Oberstar in similar circumstances against the DFL nominee Tony Perpich so many years ago in the Eight. It may depend on who stays the furtherest away from imploding campaigns like Hatch and Klobuchar. Bell seems to be gaining outstate according to whispers about recent polls, but he still needs to build an effective yet decentralized base of volunteers. Hopefully he'll get some of the Nelsn-Pallmeyer crowd to pick up his standard to carry along with Ellison, so he gains the greater name recognition he now enjoys in places like Bemidji, Brainerd, Crookston and Grand Rapids. Bell has had his literature publically available in a few public spaces in those areas for two months now, and it obviously helps. Ellison will have to saturate the public spaces in his district in thhe same fashion to cement his big win today.

Nelson-Pallmeyer had enough delegates to survive 2 rounds of balloting, along with Ellison and Dorfman. In the end, Nelson-Pallmeyer and Dorfman dropped out just before the announcement of the results of the third round of ballot results. The three last candidates standing did get a chance to do a one hour question and answer round with the delegates, so that was a huge victory for Nelson-Pallmeyer in raising the peace issue and helping to make it the deciding factor in the endorsement. Ellison is a fine candidate, with well-known peace credentials, and the only bad thing I can say about him is that he defended Klobuchar's wishy-washy stance on Iraq in e-mails with Peace First! organizers. Now as the DFL endorsed candidate for the DFL's fifth district, he will have to step back from his psuedo-endorsement of Klobuchar if he wants to maintain the base of support he has from the Peace First! and related peace activists. If he does not, then I think it would be a good excuse to cause Nelson-Pallmeyer or another peace candidate to re-enter the contest in a primary.

A primary threat currently remains from the non-competitive Erlandson and Junge, but the smart money will back Ellison, who has a strong organization and will inherit a lot of support from Nelson-Pallmeyer and probably Jorge Saavedra (who was well-organized and would have been a contender if the timing of the Erlandson phone-in withdrawal would have been announced earlier). If Erlandson is smart with the money he has and will raise in the remainder of this cycle, he will sequester it for spending on a future race when he has more time to plan and organize a real campaign. He won't beat Ellison at this point.

For me, the most interesting thing that I saw or heard was the changes made to the CD 5 constitution to add the language "implement and evaluate" to the affirmative action mission. Nicque Mabrey and the relative newcomer to the state and the DFL that worked with her in designing the affirmative action plan and made this announcement (I am sorry I forget his name) also designed a survey for the delegates to evaluate their efforts towards affirmative action (e.g. making the DFL more representative of the district it serves) in CD 5. That sort of effort would be very helpful in Beltrami Co and CD 7 and CD 8 in the future.

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Blogger rew said...

I wanted to let you know that the whispers are probably false. I talked to someone yesterday in the org who said they haven't even run polling yet. When you think about it, they can't run polling before a candidate is endorsed without biasing the process.

7:49 AM  

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