St Paul DFL Convention Countdown: Day Six

If you haven’t followed Checks & Balances, we tend to provide the most blanket coverage leading up to and about political conventions. With this as our specialty, we are going to provide a daily package of material about the convention process, what specific campaign’s focal points are, and other factors with influential potential.

We will start will a little levity.

Convention Tips & Tricks

  1. If you are committed to a candidate, wear a t-shirt or at least a button, candidates have limited time to talk to people at a convention, and if you want the person you support to win, help them out by being well-identified.
  2. If you are uncommitted, do not wear buttons, or wear everyone’s button. If you seek to confuse candidate’s, and their campaigns being elusive is the best route.
  3. The best campaign has the best hospitality room. delegates and alternates are the reasons why campaigns stock up on snacks, drinks and provide everything from bagels & coffee in the morning, to pizza and pop for lunch. Even if you support a specific candidate go to the other candidate’s rooms and see what they offer, they may try to sway you with gourmet coffee or chocolate.


What to Pay Attention To

Read the proposed Agenda and proposed Rules before the convention. The first order of business is the passage of the Agenda and this could be a point of contention if what is proposed differs with what a specific campaign wants. A prime example is the placement of the School Board candidate’s endorsement before the Mayoral endorsement. Since the bulk of the delegates and alternates were determined by sub-caucuses based on mayoral candidates this is the major event at the convention. If the proposed Agenda stands then delegates focused on the School Board races may leave and their alternates may be upgraded, shifting slightly the votes in the room.


Draft 2017 St. Paul DFL City Agenda


Draft 2017 St. Paul DFL City Rules


Prepare for a Rules fight. If you have been following Checks & Balances you know we have been shouting to high heaven about the collusion between St Paul City Council member Dai Thao’s (DFL-Ward 1) and the former City Council member Pat Harris’ (DFL-Ward 3) campaigns, if not scroll down the page. The main reason for this problem is two-fold and rests on the shoulders of the convener of the Rules Committee, SEIU Lobbyist Rick Varco.

As only an alternate the Rules Committee, Varco held great sway. He called the meeting, and changed the date of said meeting due to his work-related conflict with the Legislative Special Session, set the agenda of the meeting, and proposed his own set of Rules for the City Convention.

The result was lower representation for the former Council Member Melvin Carter III (DFL-Ward 1) campaign by one vote. With the short notice date change long-time Rules Committee veteran John Sherman, a Carter supporter, was unable to attend the meeting scheduled the day after Memorial Day. Instead, he was replaced by former St Paul DFL City Chair Darren Tolbolt, a Harris supporter. On nearly every issue brought before the Rules Committee, the resulting votes were 8-6. If Sherman had been present the votes would likely have been 7-7 ties. If the votes tied then both positions would have been brought before the entire delegation for their consideration.

One issue being, item 26 of the proposed Rules. There was a proposal to help the convention move along far more rapidly to a decision, which was to incorporate Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) as the mechanism for the Drop Rule. Bringing the field of candidates from 4 to 1 in the fastest way possible.

Varco ruled this item to be out of order, which it was not and proceeded to a vote challenging the chair, which again failed on an 8-6 vote.

We expect when the same issue is brought up for amendment of the Rules, Varco will again misrepresent the truth and say he believes the item is out of order and in violation of the DFL Constitution and Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised). It is not. A convention can set their own rules any way they want, using IRV to winnow the field is a reasonable and rational approach, and the DFL Party supports the use of preferential voting methods and states:

Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Ongoing Platform.

We support:

Government Accountability to the Public

The use of ranked choice voting, also known as instant run-off voting for, state and local elections.

For the record, using IRV as the Drop Rule doesn’t even mean, IRV is determining the endorsement, it just sets the field.

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