It will be business as usual when the Democratic National Committee gavels its summer meeting into action Thursday at the Hilton hotel in Minneapolis as 300 committee members representing 50 states tend to their tasks of adopting resolutions, rules, and bylaws.
But Friday’s session will be unusual business as these Democratic influencers get their first look at Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Webb — the contenders for the party’s nomination for president — under one roof.
“Its our first opportunity to hear from many of the candidates,” said Lori Sellner, a member of the Minnesota contingent. “A lot of people will have committed already but a lot of us haven’t gone that far.”
Sellner is one of seven Minnesota committee members. The number of members each state is allowed is based on population and Democratic turnout in election years.
“I want someone I’m going to agree with most of the time,” Sellner said, adding that she may not make a choice until after she sees debate performances.
She’s also looking on behalf of others.
“I’m interested in the reaction of those in the room, what kind of energy there is,” she said. “I’m looking for a candidate who can inspire volunteers to get out the vote. Frankly, we have to have volunteers out there to do most of the work because we know in Minnesota it takes a grass roots effort to win.”
Sellner said it was too early to say who is igniting the grass roots in the state. “I’ve organized a Farmfest booth and I’ve heard from both sides [Clinton and Sanders],” she said. “Certainly the Sanders activists are really vocal and I think the Clintons are less so. So it’s hard to measure.”
As for the other campaigns, “I haven’t seen much.”
Sellner and others will get a better look at all the candidates on Friday but it still may not be a comprehensive one.
The DNC committee members have been informed that Vice President Joe Biden, reported to be considering entering the race, will not be in Minneapolis Friday.