DULUTH — Margaret Anderson Kelliher edged closer to nomination on the fifth ballot Saturday night, leading Paul Thissen to withdraw.
Thissen announced his withdrawal after learning he was within a tenth of a percent of being eliminated anyway by convention rules.
Meanwhile, the ReNew progressive group flexed its muscles in a back room. The group has about 100 delegates who have pledged to vote as a block, if 60 percent of them agree on one of their three preferred candidates. They like all three remaining candidates — Kelliher, R.T. Rybak and Paul Thissen — and all three made impassioned pleas for support from the group prior to its vote a half hour ago. This was before Thissen withdrew.
But then delegates had to rush back to the floor before results of the vote were tabulated, and have just learned that the group couldn’t agree on a candidate at this point, and won’t consolidate on the next ballot. Rybak got 52 percent of the group’s support, Kelliher had 27 percent and Thissen 20 percent.
A sixth ballot is now in progress at 10:15 p.m.