Minnesota Democrats and Republicans will endorse candidates this weekend for several state and federal offices.
Delegates for the Democrat Farmer Labor Party will gather in Rochester, and Mankato State Representative Jack Considine is among them. He said most of the drama is expected to focus on the DFL endorsement battle for governor. “Congressman Tim Walz is seeking the DFL endorsement for governor,” he said and added that the five-term congressman from Mankato goes into the convention regarded as the early favorite to win the party’s endorsement by the end of the three-day convention.
“I think he would make an excellent governor. In fact, among the people in the field right now I think he is the best candidate,” Considine said.
But it’s not a sure thing. Two-term St. Paul State Representative Erin Murphy’s campaign has been picking up steam in recent weeks and state auditor Rebecca Otto, who is also running for the DFL endorsement for governor, is the wild card.
Considine said, “These conventions can be long and contentious sometimes. I’m hoping that’s not the case.” Comparing this year’s expectations to previous conventions when there have been more incumbents than open seats, he said, “Those kind of get dull sometimes, but sometimes dull is better.
Walz has vowed to run in the primary in August regardless of whether he secures the endorsement. Both Murphy and Otto have pledged to abide by the endorsement process. Another possibility is that no candidate secures the endorsement, leaving a primary as the only alternative to resolve the contest.
DFL delegates will also endorse candidates for both U.S. Senate seats. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a two-term senator, and Senator Tina Smith, who was appointed this year in the wake of Al Franken’s resignation, are both considered shoo-ins to win their party’s endorsement.
Minnesota Republicans will gather in Duluth for their convention this weekend. Former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty will bypass it and go straight to an August primary as he tries to get his old job back, and Madison Lake Republican Senator Rich Draheim said, “It should be interesting. With Pawlenty not seeking the endorsement, it’s a pretty split field.”
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens and former Naval Reserve officer Phillip Parrish are all in the running for the endorsement and Draheim said, “Mary and Jeff, they’ll have pretty close representation and Parish will get some, too, up there. I don’t think attendance will be that great for the Republican one because of the location and, two, because of the candidate makeup.”
The party will also endorse candidates for attorney general, secretary of state and state auditor.