I am proud to be on this list of DFL endorsed candidates for state legislature. As part of my commitment to bringing more people into the political process, I’d like to share with you how candidates earn the DFL endorsement.
Step 1: The caucuses. In election years, DFL organizing units, like the Clay County DFL, hold caucuses. Caucuses are best known for previously being the time and place when you could vote for a presidential candidate. Minnesota switched to a presidential primary this year so we didn’t vote for presidential candidates at the caucuses, but there were still other things to do. The two main ones were introduction of resolutions, which I’ll tell you about another time, and the election of delegates.
Any Minnesota Democrat is welcome to attend the DFL caucuses. The people who go to the caucuses are your neighbors, coworkers, parents of other kids at your kids’ school, retirees, and students, among others. They go into rooms for each of their neighborhoods, and they elect representatives to the county and senate district conventions. Those representatives are called delegates.
Anyone at the caucus is eligible to be a delegate, as long as they are eligible to vote in the November general election. So if you’re 17 and your birthday is in October, you can be a delegate.
Typically, organizing units like the Clay County DFL have more delegate spots allocated to them by the state than they have people interested in being delegates, so your chances of being elected to be a delegate are usually pretty good.
Step 2: The convention. In a normal year, delegates would gather on an afternoon at a school or a community center and have their organizing unit convention. They would vote on a number of issues, including who they want to endorse to be the DFL candidate for any seats that are up for election, like the Minnesota House 4A seat that I am running for.
For the endorsement race, it’s not enough for a candidate to win a simple majority. A candidate has to show broad support among the delegates by winning at least 60% of the vote. In my endorsement race, 94 delegates voted and I won the votes of 67% of them.
Because it’s not a great idea to put a bunch of people in a room together for an afternoon, this year the convention moved to an online balloting system. Rather than voting in person and on paper, delegates voted via an online form. Their votes were tallied over Zoom with a representative from each campaign attending the tally.
So that’s what it means to be DFL endorsed. The party leaders don’t decide who gets to be endorsed, your friends and neighbors do. And you can, too. If you’ve never participated in this process before, I’d like to encourage you to follow the Clay County DFL’s Facebook page and attend the caucuses in 2022. Your voice matters.