Franken sweeps Iron Range

I bring news from the Iron Range.

DFL county unit conventions were held for Senate District 5 and Itasca County today in Hibbing and Nashwauk, respectively. Both use walking subcaucuses to elect delegates to the 8th Congressional District and State DFL conventions. Both were essentially proxy fights between Al Franken and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer for the DFL endorsement in the U.S. Senate race.

I was a county delegate at the Itasca County DFL convention at Nashwauk-Keewatin High School. Al Franken spoke at the convention, delivering a solid speech to the 290 delegates (more than twice what we saw two years ago when we had a Senate AND Governor’s race). Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer did not attend, instead sending Joel Sipress as a surrogate. Sipress gave a nice speech, but I think Nelson-Pallmeyer made a bad call not coming north for this one.

The nitty-gritty: Franken won Itasca County 8-4. In Hibbing at the SD 05 convention, Franken won 18-7. In essence, Franken carries the Iron Range today 26-11 — more than 2-1. By the theory I posted yesterday, this indicates we are headed to a fairly smooth, probably first ballot Al Franken endorsement at the state DFL convention in Rochester this June. With three kids under three at home, I decided not to seek a delegate spot this year. In a way, that made the process more enjoyable as I got to focus on leading a subcaucus and dealing with the floor business.

I had believed that the 12 Itasca delegates would be split 6-6, but Franken’s presence won over many undecideds. Also, we got lucky with the delegate allocation math. Here were the subcaucuses.

I proposed and chaired Franken Education: 5 delegates (6 of our delegate/alternates were either high school seniors or college students who won contested elections against party regulars … unbelievable)

Franken Labor: 3 (This was the first time I ever was part of an Iron Range subcaucus that was bigger than the Labor caucus … that’s a rather profound development)

Nelson-Pallmeyer Single-Payer Health Care: 2

Nelson-Pallmeyer Peace, Enviroment, Justice and 12-15 Other Issues: 1

Uncommitted First Time Caucus Goers: 1 (a proxy for Pallmeyer, as most members were wearing green “Jack” stickers.)
In conclusion, unless someone can prove otherwise, Al Franken is on his way to the DFL endorsement and nomination. Thanks to everyone who came out to participate today!

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