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DFL endorses House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher for governor

Anderson Kelliher: "DFLers, are you ready to make history together?"
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Anderson Kelliher: "DFLers, are you ready to make history together?"

DULUTH — After six ballots and nearly nine hours of voting, DFL delegates endorsed state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher by acclamation to run for governor.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak conceded the nomination at 11:09 p.m.

Kelliher spoke to delegates moments later, thanking them and her rivals: Tom Rukavina, for his enthusiasm, and John Marty, for his commitment to get health care for all Minnesotans. She called R.T. Rybak a class act and said it's hard to run against a good friend. She said Paul Thissen is one of the brightest stars in the party.

"Together we are going to talk about our progressive ideals and make sure that we build a strong campaign across the state as we go on to victory in August and victory in November," she said. "DFLers, are you ready to make history together?"

The party hasn't won a governor's race in 24 years.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak received a standing ovation as he walked on stage to concede the race.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak received a standing ovation as he walked on stage to concede the race.

Rybak, saying he was withdrawing from the race, called on Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Susan Gaertner to do the same. All three have said they will run in the Aug. 10 primary against the endorsed candidate — which is now Kelliher.

Kelliher reportedly had 56 percent of the delegates on the sixth and final ballot, just 4 percent below the 60 percent needed. She had led in the balloting on every ballots.

A Rybak delegate moved to have the convention endorse Kelliher by acclamation after Rybak's withdrawal.

The other major candidates had fallen away as the day progressed, and most threw their support to Kelliher as she gathered momentum.

Rybak and the others said they'll work to support the endorsed candidate in the primary and against Republican and Independence Party candidates in November.

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Comments (10)

Once again, the DFL fails to endorse an electable candidate for governor.

What a disaster.

Time to start planning for 2014.

hold on to your wallets

Wasn't grabbed in the least by her floor speech. Granted she had to follow Rukavina, but even just judging her on her own style/merits didn't feel that "x" factor from her that would make her appealing to voters beyond the base.

Once again the DFL base has chosen to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

IP candidate Tom Horner's chances for victory have been increased dramatically and rightfully so.

I don't get it, other than it was her turn, which seems like the typical party response. Personally, I imagine she stands for all the right things and all, but I find her just really uninspiring to listen to. It's going to take a lot more than mentioning your farm roots every ten minutes, or the generic platitudes about uniting country and city that she is given to offering again and again.

I agree. I always found her patronizing and uninspiring. The DFL had two incredibly unique and exciting possibilities, Rybak and Rukavina, and didn't take advantage of either.

Wonder if any of you guys were there?
I was a delegate, and I've been following the process from the beginning.
First of all -- there's no significant difference among the serious candidates as far as positions go. The main issue was and is electability.
Kelliher is unquestionably the least charismatic (my person favorite was Rybak on the grounds of both charisma and effective campaign management).
On the other hand, she's competent, intelligent, and a ferociously hard worker who inspires work on the part of her supporters. She's the sort of person who you write off at her risk.
Also, the DFL convention was uncharacteristically civil, and she appears to have the support of the other candidates.
Her big challenge will be the primary, where she'll be running against Dayton and Entenza's money. Either of them winning the primary will be the real disaster, since the GOP nomination appears to be between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, with the DFL really running against the unpopular Pawlenty.
T-shirt seen at the convention:
"I've got Pawlenty of Nothing".

I agree with you Paul, Mayor Rybak would have been the most electable candidate. Unfortunately (for the DFL) the vast majority of the folks who vote in Minnesota are not DFL activists. MAK represents the left side of the party. I do not believe that is where the vast majority of the voters reside.

"The main issue was and is electability.
Kelliher is unquestionably the least charismatic (my person favorite was Rybak on the grounds of both charisma and effective campaign management)."

I was not at the convention, but I agree with both statements -- which is a giant problem.

Honestly, how many consecutive losses will it take for the DFL to realize that things like "charisma" matter in elections?

Some notes:
Kelliher is not Roger Moe.
Yes, she is primarily an insider candidate, but she is also young and a fresh face compared to other candidates on both sides (excepting Paul Thissen, who is definitely a comer).
Having watched her campaign over the past year, she is definitely improving as a speaker. Her acceptance speech was the most natural and impassioned I have seen her.
She's not Tommmy Rukivena, but she hasn't been around as long, and while she has labor ties, she is not as clearly a labor candidate.

I definitely agree that caucuses do not produce the most electable candidates, but neither do primaries (see: Mark Dayton; Matt Entenza).
This works on both sides: the DFL chooses left wing candidates with labor orientation; the GOP right wing candidates with pro business orientations.