Jun 11, 2021 - News
Minneapolis DFL endorsements offer mixed messages on policing
A photo of Elliott Payne, who scored a big win in the DFL endorsement process for Minneapolis' Ward 1.
Elliott Payne scored a big win in the DFL endorsement process for Ward 1. Photo coutrtesy of Elliott Payne's campaign

After seven days of online balloting, 4,800 DFL delegates in 13 Minneapolis City Council wards endorsed seven candidates. And if you're looking for clear picture of what that means, keep looking.

On the one hand: Three incumbent City Council members who pledged to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department — Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5), Jeremy Schroeder (Ward 11) and Steve Fletcher (Ward 3) — were unable to gain enough delegates for endorsement, and in the case of Schroeder and Ellison, got less support than their opponents, Emily Koski and Victor Martinez.

On the other hand: Two candidates who are running with anti-MPD messages won endorsements for seats currently occupied by members who have more moderate stances on policing in the city.

  • Elliott Payne bested longtime incumbent Kevin Reich in Ward 1 with 78% of delegates.
  • Jason Chavez, running for the open Ward 9 seat, got 69% of delegates.

Why it matters: Getting the DFL endorsements brings credibility to candidates and gives them access to fundraising and campaign lists for this November's election.

What they're saying:

Minneapolis Regional Chamber CEO Jonathan Weinhagen, a leader of the anti-defund-the-police group A New 612, said the results could be a sign of the council moving back toward the middle.

  • "The pendulum may be swinging back. I think it's too early to tell, but based on the fact that we didn't see a wave of progressive endorsements ... It feels like there's a recalibration happening in the city," he said.

Kenza Hadj-Moussa, director of public affairs for the progressive Take Action Minnesota, isn't reading too much into the mixed results.

  • "The DFL is one important endorsement, but it's not the only one. There's lots of others that are going to be making endorsements and that are going to be shaping the outcomes of the race and building a ground game," she said.

Go deeper: Look at all the delegate balloting here.

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