Given his close ties to Gov.-elect Mark Dayton, Ken Martin would appear to have the inside track to become the next chairman of the DFL.
Shortly after three-term chairman Brian Melendez announced Friday he would not seek re-election, Martin tossed his hat into the ring, and it’s a hat with considerable DFL style.
Martin was executive director of WIN Minnesota, the organization that raised the funds that took the low advertising road in the Dayton-Tom Emmer campaign. He also headed Dayton’s recount team.
There is, of course, one problem the Dayton relationship might cause Martin among the party activists who will select the party chairman in February. Dayton did not abide by the DFL endorsement process, which offended a number of true DFL believers.
On the other hand, as director of WIN Minnesota, Martin proved he could raise money from unions and Dayton family members, including Dayton’s ex-wife and close friend, Alida Rockefeller Messinger. Fundraising is a vital part of the chairman’s role.
Martin has been active in DFL politics since being a high school volunteer in support of Paul Wellstone.
“As you consider the direction of our party,’’ Martin wrote in a letter to party members, “please think about the qualities that our party leadership should bring to the table. In order for our party to thrive we need to have successful fundraising efforts, effective strategic messaging and communications and widespread coalition building.’’
Martin has tapped Marge Hoffa, chairwoman of the party’s 3rd Congressional District, to run as his associate chair.
A handful of other DFLers are rumored to be considering a run for the position.