DFL Leadership Candidates at the CD2 DFL Meeting – January 11, 2011

It is getting late and I want to go to bed, but I am going to make a quick post about the DFL leadership elections coming up on February 5th.

Tonight at the Second Congressional District DFL Executive Committee meeting, we were pleased to host many of the candidates running for leadership positions.  Each candidate was given ten minutes to speak and respond to questions, with the exception of Ken Martin and Marge Hoffa who were allowed an extra five minutes after a motion was approved to extend their time.

The first candidates to speak were the candidates for DFL Secretary, Vanessa Blomgren and Jacob Grippen.  Both candidates would do a great job.  Vanessa has a fair amount of DFL Secretary experience as a MYDFL and CD5 Secretary, but more importantly, she enjoys being the secretary.  I am confident Jacob would do great, and I think he would be great as a part of the leadership, but I am going to support Vanessa Blomgren.  I liked her sample notes that were submitted to the State Central Committee and I like the fact that she likes and wants to be Secretary.

The next candidates to speak were two of the three candidates for Affirmative Action Officer.  The great thing about there being three candidates is that we will get to do ranked choice voting for this office.  I love ranked choice voting.  Frank Brown and Eric Margolis were in attendance and spoke, while Sharon Smith Akinsanya was not.  I can only comment on the two candidates who spoke tonight.  Frank Brown is the current Affirmative Action Officer.  He was elected this summer to fill the open spot.  He seemed a little defensive about what has been accomplished this past year.  I don’t think he needs to be defensive, but I really like Eric Margolis, who spoke second.  I think the DFL experience Eric has and the cool manner he has, at least based on what I saw in his speech, will help him to accomplish more within the party.  I plan to support Eric Margolis on February 5th.

Lil Ortendahl is running for State Treasurer against Tom Hamilton.  Lil drove down from Osakis, while Tom was unable to attend and asked CD2 DFL Chair Jeanne Thomas to read a statement.  I really like Lil.  Longtime DFL activist and one of my favorite DFLers, Charlie Thomas, introduced me to Lil.  She is a great lady.  I’m somebody who believes a Treasurer should have some financial background, however, I might make an exception for Lil.  Lil is a retired nurse, which goes a long way in my mind.  She is certainly active, very smart, and has the DFL experience to do just fine.  I’ll wait to make anything official in terms of an endorsement until I hear form Tom on February 5th, but I am leaning toward Lil.  I talked to Tom on the phone the other night, but I am more curious to see how he interacts with the group than any particular question.  It will be hard to top Lil’s personality though.

Finally, Ken Martin, candidate for DFL Chair and Marge Hoffa, candidate for DFL Associate Chair, spoke together as a team.  I was very impressed by Ken Martin.  He and Marge mentioned a few interesting points:

  • An 87 country strategy and a full slate of candidates in every district
  • Not just getting our message out, but juxtapose it with the Republican message
  • Quit raising money for the DFL on the backs of DFL endorsed candidates
  • Inspire people to vote for DFL
  • Talked about a true coordinated campaign
  • Pull frustrated activist who are working outside the party back in
  • The intricacy of precinct operation in the success of the DFL
  • Sick and tired of being defined by the Republicans

There were obviously more details, but it is getting late.  I got to spend a couple minutes talking to Ken after the meeting, and I liked him.  I still wish there were other candidates running, but I am supporting Ken and Marge to lead the DFL to reelect Sen. Klobuchar and take back the House and Senate.  I’m excited to work with them over the next couple years.

It was odd to me, although maybe it is more common than I realize, but CD2 voted to endorse Ken and Marge.  The minute will show the vote was unanimous, although about a fourth of the attendees did not vote to endorse, but nobody voted no.

If the election were today, MNDem would vote for, and thus endorses:

Ken Martin, Chair
Marge Hoffa, Associate Chair
Vanessa Blomgren, Secretary
Lil Ortendahl, Treasurer
Eric Margolis, Affirmative Action Officer

Although, I can’t guarantee that something won’t change before February 5th’s State Central Committee meeting in Dassel-Cokato, I am comfortable with this group to lead the DFL and move our party forward.


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