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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


DFL Endorsements

Last night an endorsing convention of the Senate District 55 DFL party gathered at the Ramsey County Library to consider endorsements for this year's Maplewood Mayor and City Council races. (Before the primary, a smaller group — the Senate District Central Committee — had met to decide on Resolutions of Support.) Fifty credentialed delegates, all of whom had been elected as Senate District delegates at the 2008 caucuses, attended.

Seeking the endorsements were council candidates Jim Llanas and Kathy Juenemann, and mayoral candidates Diana Longrie and Will Rossbach.

Due to timing, Llanas and Juenemann were not present to give speeches. State Senator Chuck Wiger nominated Llanas and spoke for him; Peter Fischer did the same for Juenemann. Llanas was out of town (he was able to call in at one point and speak to the delegates via cell phone held up to the microphone). The three seated members of the council, plus yours truly, were late due to our special council meeting and workshop.

When I arrived, the endorsing convention was well underway, although it appeared that it had been moving slowly. I was told this was due to one particular delegate's procedural questions/demands and her wanting to make various modifications to the convention rules (possibly just in an effort to stall until her candidate, Mayor Longrie, was able to arrive in person).

For the council endorsement, where there were two candidates and the option of endorsing both, a voice vote was called. (If the voice vote had failed to get the necessary 60%, then it would have been necessary to use the more time consuming paper ballots for each candidate.) The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of endorsing Llanas and Juenemann together. I heard only one nay vote — from delegate Frederica Musgrave, who of course is well known as one of Diana Longrie's most vocal and partisan supporters.

Since the mayoral candidates were at that point present, each was invited to give a two minute speech, followed by ten minutes of questions and answers. Paper ballots were issued to the delegates, who had the option of voting for Longrie, Rossbach, or "No Endorsement." The results were overwhelming -- Rossbach received 94% of the vote (47 of 50) on the first ballot, far more than the 60% needed.

I was not surprised to see Rossbach endorsed, but his margin was higher than I expected. I had thought that Longrie had recruited more of her supporters, like Musgrave, to become delegates. For whatever reason, they didn't turn out. It was also striking that there were zero votes for "no endorsement."

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