After 10 ballots, 8th District DFLers opt not to endorse

DFL candidates draw lots for speaking order at the dawn of a long day at the Eighth District DFL convention in Duluth (PHOTO: Jake Janski)

Forty-four years ago, DFL delegates in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District met in Grand Rapids for a convention that lasted 30 ballots. They endorsed Iron Range State Sen. Tony Perpich. Perpich would, however, lose the primary to the candidate he beat at that convention, Jim Oberstar. Oberstar would go on to serve 36 years in Congress, creating the largely false narrative that this district is easy to understand.

Today, Minnesota Eighth Congressional District delegates locked up after a bruising convention at the Duluth Holiday Inn. And while it didn’t last as many ballots as Perpich vs. Oberstar, the DFL race remains even murkier than it was in 1974.

In fact, they couldn’t even manage to endorse anyone. After 10 ballots, a motion to offer no endorsement passed. All candidates are now free to pursue a campaign in the Aug. 14 primary.

Going into the convention, Leah Phifer held the delegate lead following county conventions. That played out on the first ballot.

First Ballot

Leah Phifer — 44.28 percent
Joe Radinovich — 26.51 percent
Jason Metsa — 20.18 percent
Kirsten Kennedy — 4.82 percent
Michelle Lee — 3.61 percent

Phifer established an early lead, pretty much exactly where she was expected to land. Joe Radinovich was probably off a little off his pre-convention expectation, while Jason Metsa was just a shade ahead. Kirsten Kennedy and Michelle Lee trailed below the cutoff threshold and dropped out. Lee vowed to run in a primary, which was expected.

The second ballot saw most of the Kennedy and Lee votes go to Radinovich.

Second Ballot

Phifer — 45.88 percent
Radinovich — 33.53 percent
Metsa — 20 percent

On the third ballot, Phifer and Radinovich both eked upward:

Third Ballot

Phifer — 46 percent
Radinovich — 34.41 percent
Metsa — just under 20 percent

Metsa dropped out after the third ballot. Interestingly, he had told the audience “I plan to” abide by the endorsement before running, even though he’d been signaling a primary run all along. This proved to be untrue, as we’ll see.

Fourth Ballot

Phifer — 87 votes; 52.1 percent
Radinovich — 68 votes; 40.17 percent
No endorsement — 12 votes, 7.19 percent

This reflected a split of Metsa’s votes. There was some talk that Metsa wanted his people to allow a Phifer endorsement so that he wouldn’t split votes with Radinovich in the primary. Metsa told a KBJR-TV reporter he was running in the primary before the fifth ballot was cast. This was an interesting twist; normally you wouldn’t broadcast a sneaky plan like that.

Right after that news seeped out, a Phifer delegate successful moved to allow a member of the Latino caucus to speak along with short speeches by the remaining candidates. That proved an unforced error, as the Latino speaker urged people not to vote for Phifer because of her work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Radinovich used his time to plea for unity.

“We can’t stand up if we’re divided, and we need to come together today so that we can stand up and win the fights ahead,” said Radinovich.

Phifer responded to the emotional pleas of the Latino caucus in Spanish. She described her path to working as a translator for ICE, trying to help people caught up in the system. She reiterated her desire to do the difficult work even when it is controversial.

“I will continue to go to the tough places,” she said.

With that, delegates voted.

Leah Phifer talks to delegates between ballots. (PHOTO: Aaron J . Brown)

Fifth Ballot 

Phifer — 86 votes; 50.59 percent
Radinovich — 75 votes; 44.12 percent
No endorsement —  9 votes; 5.29 percent

Now the vote got closer. Phifer lost votes for the first time today. Radinovich picked up a bit. This ballot portended a long convention to come.

Sixth Ballot

Phifer —  81 votes; 48.21percent
Radinovich — 73 votes; 43.45 percent
No endorsement — 14 votes, 8.33 percent

It got closer, but both candidates lost votes.

The next ballot showed more slippage.

Seventh Ballot

Phifer — 80.5 votes; 47.63 percent
Radinovich — 71.5 votes; 42.3 percent
No endorsement — 17 votes; 10 percent

Joe Radinovich speaks with a reporter between ballots. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

Before this ballot was announced, but after it was taken, word spread quickly that Congressman Rick Nolan had just endorsed Radinovich. Nolan, a delegate, did not attend this convention due to the inclement weather and his conflicting support of no fewer than three candidates in the race.

What would Nolan’s endorsement do? The next ballot told the tale:

Eighth Ballot

Phifer — 75 votes; 46.01 percent
Radinovich — 70 votes; 42.94 percent
No endorsement — 18 votes; 11.04 percent

Virtually nothing. No change, except for one more vote for no endorsement. The sentiment around the convention quickly turned. Phifer and Radinovich delegates alike started to talk about going to a primary. Especially when …

Ninth Ballot

Phifer — 79 votes; 47.02 percent
Radinovich — 72 votes; 42.86 percent
No endorsement — 17 votes; 10.12 percent

Again, no major change. At this point, both campaigns geared up for the likelihood of no endorsement.

10th Ballot

Phifer — 80.5 votes; 47.77 percent
Radinovich — 71 votes; 42.14 percent
No endorsement — 17 votes; 10.09 percent

After the 10th ballot, party rules allowed a “no endorsement” vote. The motion was made, setting up one final vote to offer no DFL endorsement in the Eighth District. It passed 102 to 56.

Jason Metsa speaks to reporters after the 10th ballot. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

All five candidates are now free to go to a primary. Metsa said  he was thinking about it, but it’d be surprising if he didn’t run. Radinovich and Phifer will stay in the race. Kennedy announced she would also stay in the race.

Further, more candidates could jump in, and there could be GOP mischief in the Aug. 14 open primary. Nevertheless, the race goes on. If you like political drama, this will be interesting.

The continuation of the DFL race will have one sure beneficiary: Republican Pete Stauber. Stauber announced this week he’d raised more than $270,000 for his campaign, which he gets to stash for what promises to be one of the most competitive Congressional races in the country.

That might be the biggest thing different than 1974: The DFL candidate — no matter who prevails in the primary — is not assured of winning the general election. But as I’ve argued, what matters most of all is the attitude of voters next November.

For more, follow my special coverage page for the MN-8 race.


Comments

  1. could somebody please tell me what Metsa’s answer to the yes or no question “if he would support another candidate that got an endorsement” I thought I heard him say that he p;edged that. Am I wrong? What did he say? if not that….it was definitely not yes or no.

    • Gerald S says:

      He said: “I am planning to.”

      Irrelevant now. In the absence of an endorsement everyone is back in.

  2. Kennedy is moving forward? I thought Lee was and Kennedy wasn’t?

    • She has a social media post indicating she’s in. So, if Metsa runs, that’s all five in a primary. I guess we’ll see what he does. This whole time I figured he would, be he seemed to be genuinely thinking about it when I talked to him.

  3. Phoenix Woman says:

    So now we get to relive 1968, 1980 and 2016, where the losers backstab the winners while the Republican candidate gets to save his money.

    Stauber’s probably already planning a trip to DC so he can pick out new drapes for his office.

  4. Gerald S says:

    We will see how long everyone stays in, since money and campaign organization become a key very quickly.

    Phifer appears to have accumulated a lot of money in a hurry, since she announced in today’s DNT that she has $90,000, whereas a week ago she was saying $65,000 and two weeks ago $35,000.

    Phifer has several advantages in this race, fears of massive political machines notwithstanding. She has a very dedicated and large grassroots campaign organization she has put together over the year she has been working on this, and has a very loyal, in some cases fanatic, following. She had virtually no defections over the ten ballots. She should be able to raise quite a bit of money in a hurry by tapping into her followers for donations, getting money in small amounts but from a lot of people. She also has her lane almost to herself, given that Lee had what amounts to a breakdown at the podium, both in her speech and in her “concession,” making me question how well she will do in trying to gear up for a primary effort, and also given her very small vote at the convention.

    Metsa, Radinovich, and apparently Kennedy all have to share the same lane. In particular, Metsa and Radinovich will be competing for the same endorsements, the same sources of money, and the same campaign workers. Radinovich obviously starts a bit ahead, especially with the apparent endorsement by Nolan, but Metsa has backers who put him in first place in the money stakes for now, and the support of many players in the Range DFL.

    The fact that Phifer is essentially alone on the left while her opponents are clustered in the union/moderate group gives her a potential advantage at the polls as well. In a race where 40-45% should equal a win, having command of the left gives her a lot of potential votes toward that total. We saw exactly the same thing at the convention, where her command of the left put her in a position right out of the gate where no one besides her could have won the endorsement, since she held over 40% of the votes from the start, with, as I said, no real defections.

    There is, of course, a lot of water to go under the bridge, but IMO Phifer starts at the pole position in this race, with everyone else jockeying to emerge as her major challenger.

    As to the Democrats being at a disadvantage for having a primary while Stauber is unopposed, that is definitely a two edged sword. While the DFLers will have to spend money and will risk damaging each other, they will also be getting a lot of attention in the media and elsewhere, while Stauber will be a non-story until the general. In a race where no one is well known, being in an active election will make them much better known over the summer, while the equally unknown Stauber remains less active.

    Obviously we will have to see. The fact that there was no endorsement is undoubtedly disappointing to the candidates and their supporters, especially Phifer and Radinovich, who had the best chance to be endorsed, but sometimes you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you just get what you need.

    • This is a wise analysis and it fits well with Minnesota history. It is highly doubtful that Paul Wellstone would have knocked off an incumbent senator without the earned coverage he gained in the primary run with Jim Nichols. Once you get into the fall, there is no doubt that money will be pouring into this battleground district once again on both sides. Getting visibility early without paying for it will serve whomever emerges the Democratic nominee very well, I suspect.

  5. Some things to consider
    Phifer hasn’t denounced any of the practices the police state (her former employer) which apparently informs her many perspectives.
    IMO, Phifer is not a progressive left but rather a DC establishment democrat.
    Will she be able to pull in Trump supporters and win in a purple district?

    • David Gray says:

      I find it amazing that the DFL contains so many people who would hold honorable service in law enforcement against a candidate. “Police state”? You ought to familiarize yourself with what a real police state looks like.

      • Except for a very small number of genuine activists for Latino issues, almost none from CD8, this thing is pure fake in an effort to hurt Pfifer. If she were denouncing ICE the same people would be in a high dudgeon that she was slandering our loyal pubic servants.

        Captain Renault: “I am shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on here!”
        Croupier: “Your winnings sir.”
        Renault: “Oh, thank you very much.”

        • I wanted to support her, but I can’t because her environmental stance makes me feel she values that issue more than she values my kids and grandkids who live here. Her work at ICE (which I read about months and months ago) made me feel that she didn’t value the kids and families she signed deportation warrants on. If she knowingly ripped apart even one single family, she ripped apart that family and still came back to work the next day. I’m not Latino, but that is not something I can support.

          • If Leah Phifer’s environmental stance is too soft for you, you’ll be at home on election day.

          • David Gray says:

            I don’t suppose you wanted the Gambino Family broken up either…

          • Gerald S says:

            Ben, I think you misunderstood Amy’s point. I think she is saying that she sees Phifer’s supposed opposition to copper mining as harming her family in the same way she thinks Phifer may possibly have harmed some families when she worked for ICE.

            I will say that although Phifer has said she entertains serious questions about the safety of sulfide rock mining in the Range, she has been very consistent in her saying she believes in leaving the decisions to the experts and in not intervening in the course of the process in either the various state and federal agencies or in the courts. Her only direct position on copper mining has been opposition to efforts to override due process, specifically the Congressional bills to end court cases opposing the Polymet land swap and overturn regulatory efforts to investigate the impact of Twin Metals on the Boundary Waters. It is worth noting that she is not the Lone Ranger on that, since the land swap bill has not made any progress in the Senate, and since the Twin Metals bill has failed to make it to the floor in the House, a GOP decision.

            People I know who actually are vehemently opposed to non-ferrous mining actually find Phifer’s positions worrisome, since almost all observers believe that the agencies and eventually the courts are proceeding toward approval and opening of the mines. Their support for Phifer has been, IMO, more a case of first, looking for a vehicle to punish Nolan for his positions, and second, any port in a storm in the face of a field of other candidates who strongly support non-ferrous mining.

            Phifer may be annoying to copper mining true believers, but IMO is not even close to a threat to the eventual opening of the mines.

          • Gerald – Thank you for explaining my prior post to Ben. Yes, that is what I meant.

            David Gray – I was going to let it go, but as I noted in another discussion, I sort of want to be “pro-life” but you just keep ruining it for me…. So, if an undocumented teenage girl is pregnant in the US, you absolutely want to protect and take care of the baby …. right up until the minute the baby is actually born … then you hate the baby as much as you hate his or her mom, think the baby is an illness, would consider the baby a part of a mafia crime family, and want the baby immediately deported …. I am so sorry, but I truly don’t understand how those thoughts can be reconciled with your unending insistence that you are “pro-life”. I need to actively seek out others who are maybe a better type of pro-life and ask them if this is how it works because I just don’t think it can be.

          • David Gray says:

            If you want to protect unborn children but decide not to because you have a problem with me then you are a very incoherent person and more likely really aren’t interested in protecting unborn children.

            And you shouldn’t lie in public, it might cause people to think badly of you except, of course, you don’t use your full name. I don’t “hate” babies or parents. Nor do I “hate” people who work for law enforcement like ICE. You wish to reward lawlessness. I do not. We obviously differ. Try not to lie simply because we differ.

          • Actually, I have very much appreciated that you got me thinking more about the issue over the years. But it always truly perplexed me how you could seem so worried about unborn babies (which is very good and nice) but then seem so angry and upset at living babies, children, moms, and families – to the point of calling people “illnesses” or worse. I am very sorry I said you hate undocumented immigrant babies and parents, and I will not imply so again. It was just how I have read some of your previous wording and replies, but I am actually very glad to know you do not hate them.

          • David Gray says:

            Thank you for withdrawing that statement.

            I didn’t mean the young man was personally an illness. And others made a good point about how he may have been manipulated. But there is something definitely wrong when one of two major parties seems to regard honorable service in law enforcement as a disqualifying factor for elective office. And that came from his lips…

      • “…honorable service in law enforcement against a candidate. “Police state””
        Yes, I do mean a police state. And yes, honorable people do serve but as far as I know the Patriot Act is still in place by morphed into the “USA Freedom Act.” The FBI regularly sets people up, primarily young male Muslims, as terrorists by inciting them and supplying them with material, to commit some lame act of violence.The FBI do not even act on real tips by real people as in the case or the HS shooting in Florida.
        If you don’t know you live in a police state think again. Just b/c you or I do not do anything to cause alarm doesn’t mean we live in true freedom, we are just cogs in a machine.

        And although this post appears anonymous, it can be traced right to my “device” as can yours.

  6. Ranger47 says:

    I can picture Rukavina, getting a hold of Tomassoni, Baak, et al, – “we own this f***ing Range and always have, don’t you dare let another 612er take our office!!!!!”

  7. OMG! just read a statement from Nolan’s office pulling back his endorsement of Joe. You cannot make this stuff up. The DFL is broken and without conviction or compass.

    • SCGrandma says:

      Nolan is without conviction but I wouldn’t describe all DFLers in that way. Pfifee, and ger supporters, appear to be all about their convictions.

      • I believe that was the DFL Mayor of Minneapolis holding up that sign stating that Nolan was endorsing Radinovich. If you looked very, very closely you see a teeny tiny disclaimer on the very far bottom in tiny, tiny letters, It says this endorsement is good for exactly two hours. Now that is the very definition conviction.

    • Where did you read this,jg ,and what exactly did it say ?
      “OMG! just read a statement from Nolan’s office pulling back his endorsement of Joe. You cannot make this stuff up. The DFL is broken and without conviction or compass.”

      • kbjr website. They said it was an exclusive statement.

      • the part about Frey the mayor of Mpls. is from Minnpost. evidently he traveled to Duluth to work the floor…and stood on a chair holding a home made sign announcing Nolans endorsement.

  8. That last nasty bit Lee threw out certainly spoke volumes about her. ..and it wasn’t good.

  9. One interesting thing brought up in the DNT article by one of their interviewees is the idea that in the absence of a race for CD8 on the GOP side, GOP voters might be tempted to vote in the DFL primary in order to make mischief. However, it seems to me that it is likely there will be one or more contentious races on the GOP side for other offices, including governor, both Senate races, and perhaps for other offices. That would motivate GOP voters to stay home and tend to their knitting.

    I suppose if the GOP manages to settle all the races at or before the convention, and all of the contenders agree to the result, crossover could be a factor, but given the immediate past in the GOP and the importance of the offices up for grabs, I find that unlikely.

    Also, I am unsure exactly what the comment suggests that GOP voters might actually do. Which candidate would they support that would cause problems for the DFL and be confident that Stauber would beat in the environment we are seeing so far this year?

  10. I heard rumbles pre -convention that if Phifer won the endorsement, the “unions” would vote for Stauber…so there is that. If so, a fine example of “can’t see the forest for the trees”.

    • Gerald S says:

      As I have noted before, some probably will, just as some environmental voters would vote for Sandman if Radinovich or Metsa get the nomination. I agree with your assessment, but believe that it may well be that the small numbers of extremely committed people on either side might likely be more than cancelled out by a flood of people voting DFL due to being repelled by the GOP Congress and by Trump, a flood we have seen repeatedly in interim elections, some very close to home, others in districts with strong similarities to the Range. That presumes that something else does not happen before then to change the political lay of the land.

  11. Gerald S says:

    Big news in the DNT — first noted earlier by the MN Post: Phifer is putting her campaign on hold for two weeks and thinking of not running. She says she is not happy that controversy surrounding her is interfering with the discussion of the real issues facing the district.

    Sounds like she is dropping out.

    • who would have thunk it? That was sarcasm. If this is true you can kiss good bye your hopes of holding the 8’th . This may look like a victory for the Range mobsters but I would caution you to remember that Gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

      • Gerald S says:

        I suspect that your comment reflects the way a lot of Phifer supporters will react, deciding that it is the fault of the regular DFL that she decided to drop out and deciding to elect Stauber and empower Trump as a punishment for the DFL. That may well hurt the DFL, as you say, depending on other factors in the election.

        It will be interesting to see how she explains whatever decision she makes, but there are a lot of people invested in her.

        There has been a lot of antipathy toward her in some circles for quite some time, much of it unfair, I think, but the one thing that has changed in the last week or so — the regular DFL has been opposed to her for months, dating back to her early opposition to Nolan — has been the Latino Caucus and their intractable anger toward her. There is no way that that had anything to do with the Range DFL, since it started in the Twin Cities and has been brewing since at least January. They may have embraced it in a somewhat cynical way, but the Latinos’ anger was 100% their own — I spoke with a couple of them and have no doubt. If anyone were to suggest otherwise, and imply that the Latino Caucus is subservient to the regular DFL in this, that is actually more than a bit racist, deciding that they are incapable of arriving at decisions and positions of their own.

        I think Phifer did genuinely want to work with and help Latinos, and — as a Spanish language and culture student — felt genuine interest and sympathy. It may have been a very disturbing and painful shock to her to find that they considered her work with ICE to be totally disqualifying and had no interest in her help or interest in working with her. I disagree with that position, of course, but I am a white Anglo. As a white Anglo who considered herself to be an ally and supporter of Latino political aims, she may well have been very hurt and disheartened by all that, not least because she may have found some truth in what they said.

        It is common for us to feel that politicians are somehow immune to the invective and abuse they are regularly subjected to. Perhaps in this instance, Phifer was not, and may decide it is just not worth it to her and is destructive of too many things she believes. in.

  12. Gerald…….WE CALL BS. Cheap, mean, ugly, good old boy politics. The end justifies the means. everything that confirms the existence of the swamp and strengthens Stauber. Amazing that Jacob Frey the mayor of Minneapolis would show up( to help Joe) and expose himself as a practitioner of the dark political arts. Have you read the MnPost article going around about how he helped kill the nomination process in the Mayors election? Look it up it might ring a bell.

    • As far as BS, I guess I will have to believe Phifer is not lying when she says what she is thinking. And I guess I will have to believe that the Latino Caucus is functioning on its own and following its own issues with integrity, not some paranoid vision of kowtowing to rural white politicians. I understand why you would be angry about this, but keep in mind just who you are disrespecting when you suggest that the Latino Caucus are stooges to “good old boys.” Pretty sure they are capable of thinking for themselves.

  13. In a previous post, someone said that the young Latino man who spoke at the delegate convention on Saturday was “young and being used”. During the last few days, I have been starting to wonder if maybe Leah Phifer was actually, too. It almost seems like some (fairly political savvy) people were so anxious to reprimand Nolan because of his mining stance, that they didn’t prepare her at all for a real 2018 campaign. They had to have known what was inevitably going to happen regarding her prior ICE employment, but yet still pushed her to run for this position, seeing only what they wanted to see and not being honest with her in what many others might see. Even up until a few weeks ago an internet search on her name brought up the MinnPost essay first. I see a lot of blame-the-good-old-boy excuses here, but maybe some of the blame needs to be internal to that campaign, too.

    • Gerald S says:

      Throughout Phifer’s campaign, I have been continually amazed by the way she has been regarded by people on both sides of the non-ferrous mining issue. Phifer’s basic position, stated repeatedly and easily checked on her website, was that she believed the issue should be resolved by due process in the appropriate state and federal agencies and the courts. That position is, in fact, identical to the position of executives at Polymet. Yet somehow it became dogma on one side that she was taking the food out of the mouths of children on the Iron Range and on the other side that she was working to block copper mining by any means necessary. It was like watching people read a Rorschach blot.

      It seems to me that people on both sides were desperate to make this a major issue, and that in the absence of a candidate who was engaged in that (at least until Lee turned up,) Phifer became a figure to hang their own anger on. Her opposition to Nolan undoubtedly fueled that on both sides, but her own campaign was never focused on that. When I saw her, and on her web site, she was more about health care, women, immigrants, labor, human rights, economic development, and so on.

      The opponents of copper mining loved her because she challenged Nolan. The supporters of copper mining hated her because she was supported by the opponents. All of this was a convoluted set of variations on the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or the friend of my enemy is my enemy. Phifer got caught in the middle of it.

      • take a look at the candidate graph put out by the Duluth News Trib. They described her as totally anti non-Ferris mining. They knew the truth, it was clear as a bell on her web page but they chose to report an “alternative truth” instead. It makes me ill to use the term fake news but I am at a loss for a better way of describing the news coverage of this candidate. As to the future, time will tell who got in the middle of what. Karma is a bitch.

        • Gray Camp says:

          http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4427398-mining-separates-8th-dfl-candidates
          Phifer said she might never be comfortable with it no matter how much money companies put up in escrow to pay for cleanup in the event of a disaster.

          Are you saying that Phifer never said anything like this? They have a bunch of direct quotes from her in the article, but this statement is not.

          • Gerald S says:

            Yes, she said that; I heard her say it at the St. Scholastica forum, and you can undoubtedly find the quote on the video of the forum, which is indexed by issues. However as far as policy, she has specifically stated, repeatedly in both print and in person, that she believes we should follow the advice of the scientists in our regulatory agencies and that we should not interfere with the process of their investigating, approving or disapproving, and regulating non-ferrous mining. She has also said that she personally does not have the training or knowledge to make the decision on her own, but must follow the scientists.

            It sounds like what you are implying is that if she holds any personal reservations about non-ferrous mining she is ineligible to be a representative, that only people who are wholly convinced that it can be done safely need apply. To me, that means that only people who have never examined the issue are acceptable, or only people who do not understand the risks or have ignored the evidence from elsewhere. since anyone who has examined the issue, including I am sure you, has to have had some concerns about its safety. People who agree that it should proceed do not have to be certain it will be safe, just that they feel that the preponderance of evidence suggests it will be, and that the necessary safeguards and financial assurances have been met. Every bit of technical progress, from the airplane to the nuclear bomb to the polio vaccine to the introduction of cell phones exists in exactly that same area of mild doubt. No engineer can or will ever promise that a bridge cannot fall down, no physician can guarantee that a treatment will work and be safe, and no manufacturer can guarantee that you will not be hurt be their product. They can just assure people that under all the circumstances they foresee it will be safe, and that they have tried to foresee and deal with all the risks that are of legitimate concern.

            The key issue for non-ferrous mining is whether people accept the rule of law and are willing to follow the process and abide by it. People on both sides of the issue have argued that we should not follow the rule of law and due process, but not Phifer. As I said, her position on the issue — follow the rule of law and the role of the regulatory agencies and courts — is identical to the executives of Polymet who I have heard speak.

            Attempts to suggest otherwise are merely efforts to cloud the issue or to attack Phifer for some other reason.

            The News-Tribune, unfortunately, is not a very reliable or careful news source, especially on issues where they have a stated position, which they do in favor of non-ferrous mining. They display considerable unevenness of quality depending on which of their reporters are involved. I know for a fact that people on both sides of the political spectrum and on both sides of most issues are convinced that they regularly show carelessness and bias. Unfortunately, they are the only game in town on many things.

          • Gray Camp says:

            Nothing I said in the post was an attack on Phifer. jg was making it sound like nothing Phifer had ever said was anti-nonferrous mining, and I provided a statement by her saying something that was anti-nonferrous mining.

            The only thing I’ve ever said negative about Phifer was my feeling that her education and work history made her seem like a young adult who still hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do when she grew up – and because of that I didn’t feel comfortable that she would bear down and work hard for district 8 when elected. Her 2 week suspension of her campaign only adds to this feeling.

          • seriously David you site Phifer’s education and work history and decide she seems ” like a young adult who still hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do when she grew up” …in this field of candidates? This is pure sexism. At least she has an education and work history. She is running against two boys, who happen to be good old boys. Between them have never held a real job (outside of political hack) and combined never got enough credits for an associates degree. Both of them are running campaigns based on the sympathy vote. Can not wait to see which one wins the “my life has been so hard” competition.

          • David Gray says:

            Is his name David??

          • Gray Camp says:

            Sexism? Really? My concern had nothing to do with any of the other candidates. Are we not allowed to voice concerns about her because she is a woman?

          • I think your lack of concern for the other candidates is exactly the point. They are utterly without accomplishment, uneducated, and have zero work experience outside of DFL politics. So please explain to me why you are concerned about the woman who has has all of the above other than the obvious. that she….is a she.

          • Gray Camp says:

            Huh? The discussion I was posting to was about Phifer – not about anyone else. You stated that the DNT had it wrong and she was not an anti-nonferrous mining candidate. I provided a quote from her which put that into question. These candidates are running for the legislative branch of the US Government. It is fine and good to say she will follow the law and the process, and listen to the expert scientists – but these candidates are vying to have the power to change the laws of this land. If she got elected and a vote came to the floor on nonferrous mining, she has to vote one way or the other. She can’t vote both for and against it.

          • Gerald S says:

            She says specifically that she will follow the established due process and regulatory steps. That means she would obviously vote against trying to seize the power of the courts or to override regulatory bodies in legislation. Extremists probably believe that is a vote against copper mining, but I would point out that when Obama was in office, it was the GOP and extraction industries filing the cases and appeals against rulings, appeals and cases that are allowed under due process. I don’t think anyone with any thought about the process wants the courts neutered or the regulations cancelled. Some just want their own way.

            Otherwise, I would expect her to vote as she says she would, in support of the process. As to her expressed doubts about safety issues, I would be very worried if someone did not have some doubts that a new technology in a field characterized by nearly 100% safety failure elsewhere might have problems. I spent my career in a technical field. The rule of thumb was that if someone did not worry about problems and have concerns about failure we didn’t want them working for us.

    • Amy it is a sad commentary that the term “real campaign” means dirty and ruthless to so many people.

    • so very sorry David….my bad….seriously Gray Camp….

  14. In the above discussion, someone has said that Leah is more qualified to be in congress because she has a more decorated post-secondary educational background. Though higher education definitely is a good thing, I don’t think it is the only thing that makes a person successful in any career.

    Congress isn’t a nice place right now. If we’re being real – the “good-old-boy” politics of the Iron Range are probably absolutely nothing at all compared to those in Washington DC. Even though Jason or Joe don’t have as an accomplished post-secondary education, would they be able to bounce back, take the hits, and move on more efficiently? I know that Leah must be very hurt right now, but if she’s taking a break for 2-weeks at this point, how is she going to handle the emotional and political ups and downs of the US Congress?

    Each candidate brings their own expertise and strengths. If you’re specifically talking about the “kids” in the race, Leah, Joe, and Jason are all well-qualified DFL candidates and I think we all know whoever wins will do their best for our region.

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