Typically, delegates to the city and local state Senate district DFL conventions meet in person to decide endorsements, but this year the state DFL executive committee has cancelled all face-to-face conventions.
This Saturday, delegates for the 2020 elections will begin voting on endorsements through the DFL’s online ranked-choice system. They will have 10 days to cast their ballots, and they may also vote by paper ballot or telephone, if their local party allows for it.
“This obviously isn’t an ideal way to have an endorsement convention,” said Senate District 62 DFL chairwoman Brittany Mathews, adding that her district’s credentials committee put in a lot of hours contacting all 800 delegates and alternates.
An endorsement is especially valuable in Minneapolis, where most voters chose DFL candidates, Hamline University political science professor David Schultz said.
Minneapolis DFL chairman Devin Hogan said the party helps endorsed School Board candidates with door knockings, canvassing and mailings and their names on the sample ballot the party sends out in the fall.
Nine candidates are seeking the Minneapolis DFL endorsement for the four School Board seats on the ballot this fall. Adriana Cerrillo, Christa Mims and Kirsten Ragatz are seeking the endorsement in District 4, which includes Whittier and the Lake of the Isles-adjacent neighborhoods.
Former two-term School Board member Rebecca Gagnon and one-term incumbent Ira Jourdain are seeking the endorsement in District 6, which includes the nine Southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods south of 36th Street.
Sharon El-Amin, one-term incumbent KerryJo Felder and Rasheda Jenkins are seeking the endorsement in District 2, which covers North Minneapolis.
Kim Ellison, who has been on the board since 2012, is the only candidate seeking the endorsement for the citywide seat. Perennial candidate Doug Mann said he plans on running for the seat, but he is not seeking the DFL endorsement.
In Senate District 61, neither Rep. Jamie Long (61B) nor Sen. Scott Dibble has a challenger for the endorsement. In District 61A, Logan Coplan is challenging nine-term incumbent Frank Hornstein.
In Senate District 62, Omar Fateh is challenging Sen. Jeff Hayden, who has been in the Legislature since 2009. Neither Rep. Hodan Hassan (62A) or Rep. Aisha Gomez (62B) has a challenger for the endorsement.
Delegates to the Senate district conventions will also decide who to send to the state DFL convention, which is scheduled for May 30-31 in Rochester. A DFL spokesman said the party is finalizing plans for that convention this week.
The Senate District 61 GOP endorsed Jennifer Zielinski for state Senate at their convention in March. There were no endorsements for state House.
Senate District 62 Republicans may hold an endorsement convention, party chair Bob Sullentrop said, but currently don’t have any House or Senate candidates.
The filing period for the School Board and Legislative seats runs from May 19 to June 2. The state primary election will be Aug. 11, and the general election will be Nov. 3.