Phifer drops out of Eighth District race

Leah Phifer

Leah Phifer announced today she would not seek the DFL nomination for Congress in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. Phifer had lead all ten ballots at last Saturday’s MN-8 Convention in Duluth.

“My goal, since first declaring my candidacy in October 2017, has always been to win the DFL endorsement, bring new voices to the table and strengthen the party,” said Phifer in a statement. “A divisive primary season would only serve to weaken the party and distract from the issues affecting the people of the 8th District.”

Phifer told supporters she needed time to think about the race after Saturday’s contentious convention. Phifer found herself drawn into controversy surrounding her previous work as a translator for the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency. Critics referred to her as a “deportation agent,” a label she rejected.

Phifer brought an unique profile to the race. Her work in federal law enforcement as an intelligence analyst and translator made her unlike your typical Democratic candidate. She launched her exploratory campaign on a motorcycle spending 80 days last summer touring Northern Minnesota’s Eighth District. Phifer opted to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan for the DFL endorsement, a move that galvanized intra-party critic’s of Nolan’s environmental policies and irked party regulars.

Nevertheless, one of Phifer’s strength at the convention was the enthusiasm and loyalty of her delegates.

“She gave a voice to those of us who felt we hadn’t had one in a very long time,” said campaign co-chair Robert Miller of Hermantown in Phifer’s statement. “We’ve been empowered and will continue to raise our concerns and expect them to be taken them seriously.”

Unfortunately, Phifer didn’t have enough support to reach endorsement. She wasn’t prepared for a five-way primary race. She also faced significant resistance from others in the Eighth District DFL, especially leaders from the Iron Range who feared her skeptical position about copper-nickel mining. Despite a relatively small number of delegates, Joe Radinovich and Jason Metsa were able to prevent any significant support from switching to Phifer during the convention.

Phifer said she won’t endorse a candidate at this time.

“I have a great deal of respect for the people who worked very hard to make me, a political newcomer and grassroots candidate, the top delegate-earner on every ballot for an open Congressional seat,” said Phifer. “It’s my hope they will go on to choose someone who follows the path we carved out and runs a positive campaign focused on the issues.”

Phifer’s campaign manager Sue Hakes also weighed in on Phifer’s decision not to endorse. “Leah was the people’s candidate. It’s important to her that the people choose their new candidate,” said Hakes in the Phifer release.

Phifer had left her position with the FBI to run for office. She currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at Augsburg University, where she will finish the semester before deciding what to do next.

“It was such an honor to be trusted with the hopes and dreams of the 8th District,” she said. “Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be working to make our vision of the future a reality.”

On a personal level, I enjoyed a long phone conversation with Phifer early in the campaign. We exchanged significant correspondence over some of her ideas about economic development and mining. I found her to be smart and creative. She had some good ideas about mining research and industry development that never really entered the discussion.

As a newcomer to politics, I think Phifer made a few diplomatic errors in her dealings with the old guard, but then again that’s not always a bad thing. That crowd, as a group, isn’t handling the district’s changing nature very well. She certainly could have responded to the criticism from the DFL Latino caucus more completely and much earlier. Waiting until the convention allowed her opponents to frame the discussion. I don’t think she realized the damage that had been done until it was too late. I hope Phifer remains in Northern Minnesota and finds some new way to serve in future.

State Rep. Jason Metsa, Former State Rep. Joe Radinovich, retired news anchor Michelle Lee and North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy have all announced they will run in the primary. The winner of the Aug. 14 primary will face well financed Republican Pete Stauber, a retired Duluth police captain, and Ray “Skip” Sandman of the Independence Party.

You can follow my reporting and analysis of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District at my special coverage page.


Comments

  1. “she certainly could have responded to the criticism from the DFL Latino caucus more completely and much earlier.” This is so bogus. Criticism? Is that what they offered? certainly not constructive. Were they open to discussion? Did they rise Organically? Absolutely not. If you are going to be the honest voice of this election you have to tell the truth. This was a hit job. Aaron your honesty and journalistic creds are at risk here.

  2. Ranger47 says:

    Aaron is part of the Range Swamp jg. Leah was a huge threat to them. Kinda Trump like. They’ll never support someone as far south in the district as Leah is. The Range Swamp tolerates Radinovich (he’s not a Ranger) as is he’s young enough to be groomed and he’s an “ich”. Having a socialistic heritage is a big plus. They love Metsa, he’s a closed fist, in your face union guy, always “fighting” against something…with a deep Swamp heritage.

    • Ranger I think you are missing the most important aspect of this. The Range swamp never supports anyone who they do not already control. Personally I believe that losing the nomination to Leah was a far bigger threat to them than losing the general. They learned via Chip that they can regroup two years later, but they never lose control of “their” party. Control of the DFL is their goal, not winning.

      • Ranger47 says:

        You sum it up better than I did. I spoke to reactionary, too quickly. And no offense to the “ich”‘s of the Range. I grew up with and still today, have many “ich” very close friends. Probably unnecessary (they have a pretty thick skin), but to them, I apologize.

      • emiLy Quick says:

        So true, and frustrating. The nasty inter-DFL campaigning is going to hand the 8th over to Stauber this fall. Even with all the DFL regulars, they won’t beat Stauber. Phifer had the unique quality of attracting DFL outsiders. I was ready to jump into the party with both feet after being an Independent my whole life. Now I’ve seen how it’s run and that’s not my scene.

    • Loony Bob Lindgren, I’ll put up with all manner of your Fox News regurgitations, but the notion that I’m part of the “in” group in the current Iron Range DFL is laughable. Especially to them.

      • I know you are not “in” Aaron but my question stands…was the latino caucus attack on Leah organic or was it a planned hit? I think your readers deserve an answer or at least a well informed opinion.

        • Truthfully I don’t know. The initial criticism of her ICE career appeared organic, originating from prominent DFL Latino leaders. I think there were also some crocodile tears by some of her opponents who saw it as a wedge they could drive at the convention.

          • OK

          • I know. I was there at the convention as a first time ever delegate. I spoke to a member of the Latino caucus THREE times that day because I believe in dialog and conversation with those who think differently than I do. He told me he was the state party treasurer and I needed to support ANYONE but Leah because she was a liar. I asked for more detail about what exactly she was lying about but he wouldn’t give me any details. When I asked why I shouldn’t believe her when I told Leah during her exploratory tour that I was concerned about the current immigration policy. She told me she was running to change the rules. His response, “She’s lying.” I asked him why I shouldn’t believe her. His response – “Because she’s a Politian and they all lie.” I was flabbergasted and pointed around the room, “then that applies to all of these.” He turned and walked away from me. I believe all this had more to do with the political machine than true democracy.

          • David Gray says:

            Maybe the “latino caucus” wasn’t as young and innocent as some of us thought.

      • Ranger47 says:

        Come on Aaron, you were born and raised in the swamp, you’re livelihood is dependent on the swamp, you ran Anzelc’s campaign (a swamp dweller)…and you claim not to be wallowing in the same waters?? Time to write another book explaining yourself…

        • Dude, why you gotta be so mean? The only swamp I know is the Sax-Zim bog and whatever you call the wetlands along my property line. I’m a community college speech teacher who writes, produces a radio show, and provides this forum to talk about Northern Minnesota. Tom Anzelc is a personal friend of mine. If you think all this is a “swamp” you badly misunderstand swamps, both real and metaphorical.

          • Ranger47 says:

            Mean? Mean?? We’re talking Range politics and you suggest there’s PC boundaries? If Hibbing Community College has established “safe zones” we’ve fallen further than I thought.

            You’re article suggests a major reason Leah dropped out is the Hispanic issue…slyly attempting to to give cover to the Range swamp for not supporting her. The Range swamp couldn’t care less about Hispanics. They simply don’t like Leah cause she’s not “one of us”. Not complicated.

          • I was at the convention. It was a major issue she had to deal with. So that meant she couldn’t patch the divide between her supporters and opponents. That meant she couldn’t frame the issues. And she’s broke. So she’s out. That’s over. I say you’re mean because of your derisive personal comments. I can handle it. But I can’t respect a person who enjoys being unremittingly awful to people. I keep seeing glimmers of humanity from you, Bob. I dont need to agree with you about anything. I respect many people I disagree with. But, with you, I’m always disappointed in the end.

  3. David Gray says:

    The criticism from the “Latino caucus” was absurd and infantile. It is a sad commentary on the current state of the DFL that those criticisms, which amounted to “how dare you enforce the law,” were taken seriously. An intellectually serious party would have laughed them out…

    • Matt from Minneapolis says:

      It’s not just the “Latino caucus” that had serious reservations about Phifer’s ICE and intelligence-community backgrounds. That said, it would be great to see a woman and/or POC candidate who takes a stand against sulfide mining and for our natural resources in addition to not having ICE baggage.

      • Matt from Minneapolis…..can’t make it up. Same place as the hit squad that tarred Leah was from…same place Joe has been working for Mayor Frey…..same place Joe has been raising all his money at events sponsored by mayor Frey. Same place mayor Frey drove from in the middle of a blizzard to hold up a sign that declared “Nolan endorses Joe” only minutes before Nolan retracted his endorsement of Joe.

      • You do have “a POC who takes a stand against sulfide-mining and for our natural resources in addition to no having ICE baggage.”

        His name is Ray “Skip” Sandman – the Independence Party candidate. And, the DFL’s “eat your own young” antics have provided him a boost.

        • Philip….you are one strategic guy. Insult the candidate whose followers you are trying to attract. Brilliant!….baggage? there is no baggage in honest work.

          • No insult to Phifer at all if that’s what you meant (she was not in lock-step with Nolan’s position nor rabidly pro sulfide) which, Matt from Mpls, was alluding to. To the old-guard DFL? Yes. David Gray hits it on the head. And, that’s the “big-tent” dishonesty of both parties. “We want you to join us – now, act like the old maxim of seen but not heard – you don’t pass the purity test.” As for Phifer – I’d love to see a person of her quality join the IP. Sandman is set for 2018 but there are other races and other years.

          • My point is …don’t call something baggage when it is not and should not be called, baggage.

      • David Gray says:

        Service in law enforcement is only “baggage” to the criminal “community.”

    • Ranger47 says:

      Another “summed up well” David. We see this played out daily on the nightly news. It’s insane…and the majority of the public knows it, which contributes to Trump rising in the polls.

    • Gerald S says:

      Not “how dare you enforce the law?” but “with what tactics are you choosing to enforce the law?” Law enforcement in the US runs a considerable gamut, as even a casual observer certainly knows. Unfortunately, ICE, faced with the problem of having far more law breakers than they can possible handle, by a factor of at least 20 times, have chosen to use tactics of intimidation and inhumanity that are often closer to Bull Conner than to Officer Clemmons. That is what the objection focuses on.

      I thought that Phifer’s handling of the issue at the convention was done well, once she was confronted with several Latino Caucus members passing out flyers and buttonholing delegates as they left or entered the floor, and of delegates supporting other candidates presenting motions that the Latino Caucus be allowed to speak to the convention. She lost only one vote following the speeches. I agree with Aaron that she should have been on top of this issue weeks earlier, when it first started to appear, and IMO her op ed in the MN Post was impulsive and ill conceived for a person soon to be a candidate for office — I think that it was actually that editorial that called the attention of the Latino Caucus to the issue, since the news coverage of her usually focused on her FBI work, not her ICE work, and I doubt that the Latino Caucus is doing Google searches to track down former ICE employees who run for office.

      • Gerald why would anyone do a google search when someone (so hard to figure out) had already called them and asked for a favor. Obviously this was not the most important issue facing the Latino caucus or Latino people in Minnesota.. It is so easy to spin this and deny the obvious now….but only now. Sometime in October or early November this cheap attack will be turned against the Democratic party and with good cause.

        • Gerald S says:

          The conflict with the Latino Caucus is at least six months old. It started out with entries on “Bluestem Prairie and a couple of personal blogs by Latino figures, and in presentations by two or three Latino figures in the Twin Cities, and specifically referenced the the op ed, which in addition to the facts in question contained a racial epithet, albeit intended as a reflection on the current administration. This was before any of the current other candidates were in the field or when Phifer was a serious candidate, back when she was doing her “around the 8th in 80 days” thing.

          I am certain that this is unlikely to impress you, and that the fantasy is a lot more fun than the facts, but sometimes, as Freud famously said, a cigar is just a cigar.

      • Ranger47 says:

        Next time you check Wikipedia for “red herring”, it’ll be using this as an example.

      • Leah Phifer was a translator for those who did not speak English. Did it ever occur to anyone that she was making it easier for people in a difficult situation, that she could make a difference for them and make sure that they were understood and treated with respect?

        • Gerald S says:

          I agree with that. But the Latino Caucus does not. Again, what they did is not my idea of how to do goal oriented politics, but I am an old white man, and it is not my place to tell them how to interpret their own life experience.

          Leah gave that explanation herself at the convention and at least one other time that I heard her. However, this controversy has been on the internet and at public meetings in the Twin Cities for at least six months. As Aaron pointed out, it would have been better tactics to be proactive and seek a meeting with the Latino Caucus weeks or months ago, rather than have it pop up at the convention. Perhaps it would not have worked, given the Latino Caucus’ anger, but at least she could have said she tried.

  4. The reality is Phifer’s campaign had not raised enough money for her to continue. Nothing selfless about dropping out or being driven out , just the hard facts.

  5. I realize facts never stand in your way , Ranger.

    • Lee Peterson says:

      The hit against Leah reminds me of birtherism against Obama by Trump. The Iron Range Delegation took that lesson all too well.

  6. How about listing those you include in the Iron Range Delegation, Lee Peterson ? I am curious.

  7. Dave Zbaracki says:

    I was a seated alternate at the convention. Honestly, I don’t think the commentary from the Latino Caucus affected the outcome of the convention. Phifer had passionate support that was pretty much baked in the cake. She had a multiple month head start in accumulating delegates, and she came up short. There really wasn’t much movement in her totals at the convention. She peaked at about 52%, but that was after some shenanigans from one candidate after they dropped out (which baffled me). Realistically, she got about 47%. There wasn’t any movement after they addressed the convention. Going forward, the critique from the Latino Caucus would have hurt her, but I think if she would have apologized for the article she wrote, especially the timing, it would have gone a long way for her to gain trust. The old saying in politics, “If you’re explaining, you’re losing,” certainly applies.

    • That’s how I see it too. I do think the whole dustup prevented Phifer from making any gains with other delegates, though, and therefore prevented her endorsement in that way. The terms of the convention discussions were completely out of her wheelhouse and she had to play defense the whole time.

      • Gerald S says:

        I also was at the convention, and I did not see any real movement at all over the course of the 10 ballots, either in the actual vote or in the sentiment of the delegates.
        .
        Most of the wobble in the vote appears to be due to bathroom breaks, food breaks, and perhaps changeover to alternates if people had to go home. The only drift was toward “no endorsement.” For a long convention, there was also very strong stability in people staying to the bitter end, rather than leaving, including voters whose original choice had been eliminated.

        Just as Phifer had a hard core of voters who came to vote for her or bust, and were unwilling to change positions, so the contingent made up of former Nolan supporters, union voters, people loyal to one of the other candidates, and so on was equally firm. I am virtually positive that the non-Phifer vote was primarily lining up on the issue of non-ferrous mining, just as many of the Phifer voters were. They were no more likely to shift to Phifer than Phifer voters were likely to shift to Radinovich in the name of seeking to have an endorsement. The “Phifer No” contingent was actually slightly larger than the” Phifer Yes” group from the beginning, composed of all the original voters for Kennedy, Metsa, and Radinovich, and perhaps part of the Lee vote.

        As to the contention that it is unusual for a candidate to come with 47% support and not accumulate enough for endorsement, that is true when the contest is essentially about candidate personality and fine tuning, but is often — in fact usually — not true when the split is over some issue strongly held on either side. I saw that repeatedly during the Vietnam era, during the early years after Roe versus Wade. and occasionally on other more local issues. People with strongly held beliefs on a key issue simply do not shift to candidates who don’t hold those beliefs just to expedite an endorsement. The last time I can remember that was in the Duluth mayoral race in 2003, when the convention deadlocked between two candidates when there was no motion of votes over several ballots, although one of the candidates started the night with over 55% of the vote. The top vote getter that year also dropped out, and the second place candidate lost the primary to a candidate who had chosen not to seek the endorsement.

        And yes, I do believe that it is not intellectually sensible to see Phifer as an anti-copper mining candidate, but people on both sides of the issue, both for and against, tended to see her as that. She may have lost a few votes to angry Nolan supporters as well.

        I agree that the Latino Caucus issue had no impact at all at the convention, and for the reasons above disagree with the idea that it stopped possible migration of votes toward Phifer, since the convention seemed frozen in stone from the first ballot.

        That said, I am not positive that the Latino Caucus was not a factor in Phifer choosing to drop out. I wrote earlier on that, and will not repeat it, except to say that a candidate seeking to be the progressive choice faced some hurdles, and perhaps some personal issues, by being opposed so vehemently by a group she would have wanted to see as her allies. Having had some time to think, I am suspicious that Phifer may have seen the handwriting on the wall as a candidate who would hopelessly divide the party, just as Tom Huntley did back in 2003 in Duluth. That is the reason she actually gave for dropping, and once again, I think we should believe her.

    • dave when was the last time one candidate wins 52% of the vote, in a five person field, and the result are described as anything but a landslide?

      remember if you are explaining you are losing so you’re better off just leaving the truth hanging out there.

      • emiLy Quick says:

        She did not get 52% in a five person field. She got 52% in a three person field.

        • you’re correct emiLy my bad…however the truth is she was ahead from the beginning by a margin that should have been considered a landslide. Joe’s rise was the result of a politically driven desire to kill the process. Like Nolans endorsement many of his pick up votes were gone before the convention was over.

    • I also was also alternate from an uncommitted sub caucus, the minute the delegate was chosen that person was all for Phifer – there were several Phifer sub caucuses at the district convention that the person could have joined. I think there was a bit of clever scheming that put her high in the initial count but explains why the her delegate count was stagnant went no where.
      Leah’s campaign & stump speeches acknowledged she knew how cruel the system could be and she worked with in it but she never once stated how she would change it, or eliminate it or anything to that end. She just proclaimed to “know” the answers… Another thing, at the debates/discussions, when the candidates were asked about the immigration & undocumented people, not a one pointed at making the people who EMPLOY them responsible since it is illegal to hire undocumented workers
      My real problem at this point is none of the candidates state a desire to end the forever war, this is a federal position after all. Who’s going to pay? We know who will not be paying.

      • Gerald S says:

        With the retirement of Nolan, people concerned about peace issues and the military budget lost what may have been their strongest voice in Congress, or certainly one of the strongest. Nolan first came to office back in the 70’s on the war and peace issue, and remained firmly committed to those issues Granted, his voice and his vote were usually overwhelmed by much larger groups from both parties, but he was really dedicated to that.

    • Elanne Palcich says:

      Franken tried apologizing and that didn’t seem to work.

      • Gerald S says:

        I spoke at length to two of the guys from the Latino Caucus. They were unwilling to consider any compromise, and adamantly insisted that for them Phifer was disqualified as a candidate, and that that should hold for anyone sympathetic to their cause or the cause of anything to do with minorities of any sort. They were lividly angry about the notion that a person with a background at ICE was being considered for the endorsement, and in particular were very angry about her op-ed, which they saw as frankly racist. They repeatedly used the phrase “it is a very low bar that candidates have to meet for us.”

        I would agree that that is probably not the best way to play politics to get things done, but it is becoming more and more the style in some circles these days, in both parties. Some supporters of Phifer have said essentially the same thing on this blog.

        And NO, they were not under the control or doing the bidding of some nefarious behind the scenes white masters. To suggest that would certainly be seen by them to be outright racist, something I agree with. The Latino leadership is completely capable of making their own decisions and acting on them, and as I said earlier, this has been building since almost as soon as the op-ed was published and certainly as soon as Phifer started making noises that she might run. If it came as surprise, it was because people weren’t paying attention — and for that matter because the media does such a bad job of making people aware of what is going on in the world.

        • Gerald…when you find yourself on the edge of a forest fire with a gas can in your hands, run away from the fire.

          • Gerald S says:

            What in the heck does that mean?

          • It means that your comment was inflammatory in an environment that is becoming combustible. “they were not under the control or doing the bidding of nefarious behind the scenes white masters.” Really? White masters? There is no doubt that I and others have said that this is a political dirty trick but I do not recall anyone referring to white masters or anything close. I personally have said that they are young and being used but there is and was nothing racial in that statement. Fact… young passionate people ( of all races) are used by manipulative bad people all the time. Nobody’s agenda is being moved forward by this discussion. But there is a social media uproar that is moving several liberal agendas backwards and at the same time moving the Republican agenda and the Trump narrative forward.

          • Gerald S says:

            I find it amusing that you are accusing someone else of being inflammatory, given your usual posts. And more than once you said, in so many words, that the Latino Caucus was acting at the bidding and as an agent of Range establishment politicians, who you may have noticed are all white. You rejected outright the possibility that they were acting based on their own independent ideas and independent motives.

            i will admit to being frustrated, since I have tried repeatedly to make the point more gently that that line of talk is unwise at best, racist at worst. Perhaps I have gotten your attention.

          • this going bad. I…..never…..invoked….race. I also never called you a “neanderthal out of touch with reality”. I called the CD8 leadership “out of touch and primarily concerned with self preservation”. I don’t know you Gerald and even if you are part of the cd8 leadership you are only a small part. There is no personal attack here.

            Take your time make it nice

          • Gerald S says:

            I’m sure you see the point.

        • Gerald you are the guy who keeps invoking white (race)…not me. My posts are inflammatory because I am angry at a CD8 DFL that I believe is out of touch and primarily concerned with self preservation. I make no effort to hide that.

          • Gerald S says:

            I agree you are not invoking race directly, but when you repeatedly say that the Latino Caucus were following directions of the Range leaders, that they came because they were called by them, that they learned about the issue by being told by them, you are denying them integrity, agency, intelligence, and self direction. In the context of the fact that all the people you say are in control of them are white and that they are non-white, you are getting out on very thin ice. Imagine if they were black, and they were complaining that Leah had done something that upset black people, and you said the same thing.

            I understand your anger at an establishment that is responsible for so many negative things, including the very things the Latino Caucus is so angry about. Been there, done that, literally have the t-shirt. Just try to be a tad more careful and reflective when you commit things to print. If you want to call me a neanderthal out of touch with reality, be my guest. But when you start in on the representatives of a disadvantaged minority group, use caution.

            Measure twice, cut once.

          • David Gray says:

            Or he could be recognizing a confluence of interests.

  8. Her MinnPost essay should become a classic example of social-media gone wrong for a young person trying to get a job. Usually it’s Facebook showing inappropriate pictures or posts, but this time it was definitely that essay. The wording in it was just off somehow. She obviously knew she was going to run for office and wanted to address her ICE employment, but she didn’t really tell enough about her own experiences. The essay ended up basically trying to say “ICE employees are good people” (trying to include herself in that), but instead it just came off way wrong. Whoever proof-read that thing was not honest with her at all.

    • You’re continuing the false “aren’t we the all inclusive party” narrative that Leah’s out due to the Hispanic issue. That has nothing to do with her withdrawal. She not a Ranger, she was screwed from the get go..

      • I don’t vote straight ticket with any party so I’m not into that. Did the essay (which I read months ago) affect my perception of her? Yes, it definitely did. Was I unsure if she would vote in the best interests of my kids and grand-kids who live and work around here, yes I was. Combined, I did not support her as the best candidate for what matters to me. (By the way, thanks so much for the bet pay-up! I will have to get a message to explain how it was used. It was much appreciated!)

        • Ranger47 says:

          Re. our bet payoff, thanks for mentioning. I had no doubt Aaron would get it to you. You’re more than welcome…

    • As Aaron said – “Most Range towns show their butt-end to the visiting public — either figuratively or literally, usually both”. And you’re trying to tell me we Rangers really give a crap what the Hispanics have to say? That’s amusing…

      • Gerald S says:

        Just a point of information. The Range no longer dominates CD8. Well fewer than half of the DFL votes in CD8 come from the Range, and far fewer than that of the total vote. Duluth alone casts more votes and more DFL votes than the whole Range. The Range vote is significant only because in a close election, any small but homogeneous bloc of votes can be significant. The environmental vote may be the significant factor in this election, or the farm vote, or the south district vote, or the NRA vote, or the anti or pro Trump vote.

        I also am certain that there are many people on the Range who care about Latinos. What you really mean to say is that you, and perhaps a small group of people you hang around with, don’t “give a crap” about Hispanics. You do not speak for the Range any more than you speak for the Lutheran Church, which, by the way, does care about Hispanics.

        • Ranger47 says:

          The few Hispanics on the Range that Rangers might know aren’t enough to elect the mayor of Cooley. To say the Range has an understanding of Hispanics is like saying the Range understood and weren’t prejudiced towards the Negros in the ‘50’s..

          • Gerald S says:

            Back peddling, I see.

            You did not say anything about knowing Latinos. You said, ” And you’re trying to tell me we Rangers really give a crap what the Hispanics have to say? ”

            Big difference.

  9. Ranger47 says:

    Now you’re into “what the definition of is is”..you ain’t from the Range.

    • Gerald S says:

      Ranger Bob, have you ever noticed that almost all the people you accuse of not being good Rangers are Rangers?

      • Gerald S says:

        Also, most Rangers can read English, so they don’t need you or me to see what you said.

        • Ranger47 says:

          That’s not the issue Geraldine…the issue is how many Rangers even know a Hispanic.

          • Ranger, I know given your admitted outlook that this is probably foreign to you, and to your “concept” of what a Ranger is, but it is possible to respect people and favor protecting their rights even if you have not formed relationships with them. That is a basic principle of the foundation of the American nation.

            If you no longer support your own statement, retract it. Don’t try to pretend you did not say it. No matter how hard you try to change the subject, everyone can read your comment. Talk about the “definition of ‘is.'”

      • Ranger47 says:

        As Soucheray would say Gerald….”Uh, We don’t know that!”

        It could be that Aaron in fairness will “leak” all bloggers names and we’d know who’s who. Who’s a Ranger, who isn’t. I wouldn’t count on it though….he’s had a year or two to do so. And all he’s ever mentioned is me. Somewhat Snowden and Manning like. Yet he claims no bias, no political leanings? Just a simple open minded guy who grew up in a junk yard, wound up teaching English, minding his own business? Yeah right…

        • The irony of using that Soucheray quote when you post so often that you know what Rangers want.

          But we have seen your true colors come out in these last few comments Gerald and Jackie.

          Anyone that has followed Aaron’s blog, book, newspaper columns knows that he dose not claim no political leanings and speaks openly about his beliefs and connections. Throwing out a comparison to Snowden and Manning is a bit much and just an attempt to change the subject.

  10. Once again, Phifer did not have the funding to continue the race. Period.

  11. I am the last person anyone would consider a Ranger , Ranger. And aren’t you cute calling Gerald, Geraldine? And you are the resident troll.

    • Ranger47 says:

      Only trying to be respectful. Until Aaron releases everyone’s true identity, we how do we know if he/she/it is an L a G a B a T or Q?

  12. Ranger, you really delight in being mean and spiteful. It’s like you never grew out of the mean tween club. What a sad and empty way to live. Thoughts and prayers.

  13. Joe musich says:

    This letter appeared in the Star Tribune 4/20…The DFL is a closed circle and has been for sometime. Lots of posts by very few people in the commentary section to Arron’s piece is also troubling. Interestingly the letter writer dos not post here. I wonder if the incessant few drive others away…
    IGHTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

    DFL learned nothing from 2016, again favors special interests

    The recent DFL Party convention in the Eighth Congressional District demonstrated two things: that the DFL learned nothing from the 2016 election and that progressives and environmentalists need to migrate to the Independence Party to restore democracy in this state (“DFL braces for 8th District feud,” April 17).

    At the convention, Leah Phifer led all rounds of balloting. Her nomination was blocked by the Iron Range politicians voting as superdelegates on behalf of their pro-pollution corporate patrons. They enlisted the efforts of the state DFL treasurer via the Latino caucus to disrupt the proceedings and oppose the endorsement of a candidate. Thus machine politicians and a DFL official scuttled the work of months by individuals seeking to have a voice in democracy. They did so to ensure that only candidates willing to pollute the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and the St. Louis River watershed with sulfide mining could advance. (Phifer has since dropped out.)

    They have driven a deep wedge in the Eighth District similar to those that dominated the last election cycle. I have grown weary of this form of machine politics. Therefore I resigned as a DFL director in my state Senate district. I think if environmentalists, progressives and independents want to have a true voice, they need to revitalize the Independence Party and abandon the DFL. A party that ig;nores the fact that more than 70 percent of Minnesotans oppose sulfide mining to please special interests and constituencies is undeserving of support. Make your vote your voice and vote “no” on any candidate willing to lay waste to the BWCA.

    • to clarify..was this your letter?

    • independant says:

      If you want to be a big tent party you need to realize that means ideas other than just your own. A party is better when it is a little crunchy granola, a little bit environmentalist, some hard working blue collar folks, some religious and atheists mixed together and so on. If you only tolerate extreme versions of your own ideology you will always be chasing the perfect candidate. It sounds to me like the person who wrote this letter is actually the one that didn’t learn anything from 2016. As a blue collar guy I know there are a lot us that feel too many folks in the DFL tent as almost religious response are literally against every single industry that not only put food on the table for many of us in the 8th district but unknowingly to them also makes their everyday life possible. I am so sick of hearing NO to everything and it is never followed up by a single idea of how to make it better. If you want to win attract more people don’t push them away.

  14. Why didn’t you credit this to the writer….Kelly Dahl of Grove Township? The Independence Party, what a great idea.

  15. Sound familiar?

    Democrats Face Left-Wing Backlash For Choosing Primary Winners Ahead Of Time
    PETER HASSON
    Reporter
    10:28 PM 04/26/2018
    Progressive activists are furious with Democratic Party leaders who have boosted establishment Democrats over their left-wing opponents in primary races across the country.

    The Intercept on Thursday published audio of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer pressuring progressive candidate Levi Tillemann to drop out of a Colorado primary, to clear the field for establishment candidate Jason Crow. Tillemann secretly taped the conversation with Hoyer in December 2017 before leaking it this week to The Intercept.

    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Ben Ray Lujan had a policy that “early on, we’d try to agree on a candidate who we thought could win the general and give the candidate all the help we could give them,” Hoyer explained in the audio.

    “I am for Crow because a judgment was made very early on. I didn’t know Crow. I didn’t participate in the decision. But a decision was made early on by the Colorado delegation,” Hoyer added.

    “So your position is, a decision was made very early on before voters had a say, and that’s fine because the DCCC knows better than the voters of the 6th Congressional District, and we should line up behind that candidate?” Tillemann asked.

    “That’s certainly a consequence of our decision,” Hoyer answered.

    Several progressive groups slammed the DCCC on Thursday, outraged about an uneven playing field.

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