Apr 26, 2022 - Politics

Minnesota candidate attends endorsement convention while in labor

Julia Coleman and Erin Maye Quade
(L-R) State Sen. Julia Coleman and former state Rep. Erin Maye Quade. Photos: Minnesota Legislature

Two Minnesota politicians from opposite sides of the aisle shed light over the weekend on the challenges moms still face at the Capitol and on the campaign trail.

Why it matters: Political systems and traditions that fail to support working mothers (and fathers) remain a barrier to getting more women to run for β€” and keep serving in β€” elected office.

What happened: On Saturday, former DFL state Rep. Erin Maye Quade addressed supporters through contractions after going into labor hours before the in-person endorsing convention for a suburban Senate seat.

  • Maye Quade withdrew after trailing rival Justin Emmerich in the first round of ballots and went to the hospital to deliver her daughter.

Then, on Sunday, Sen. Julia Coleman (R-Waconia) opened up on Twitter about scheduling difficulties and internal pushback she's encountered as the mother of three small children.

  • "The culture must change," Coleman tweeted, citing questions suggesting she should be home with her kids and "passive aggressive responses" about child care-related scheduling requests.

What they're saying: State Senate Republican Leader Jeremy Miller, who himself has three young children, said the chamber has made changes β€” including scheduling hearings and floor sessions with families in mind β€” but that more could be done.

  • He said he skipped Gov. Tim Walz's State of the State address Sunday night to play baseball with his boys.

Meanwhile, Maye Quade's situation sparked complaints from some supporters, who argued it wasn't fair to go on with the vote given her condition.

  • Maye Quade had previously requested to move the meeting in light of her due date, according to an aide.
  • "A different type of medical emergency would have been met with a very different response," her campaign manager, Mitchell Walstad, told Axios. "Like if she had a heart attack, I think would be pretty clear: We'd stop what we're doing because she has to leave."

The other side: Emmerich and the chair of the local DFL unit defended the process in statements to Axios, saying no formal postponement requests were made during the convention.

  • Emmerich, who went on to secure the endorsement, said Maye Quade opted to withdraw from the endorsement and leave before he could respond to her suggestion after the first round that they agree to halt the vote and go head to head in the August primary instead.

Of note: While it's not clear whether Maye Quade's continued presence would have impacted the outcome, some Democrats say the situation highlights a need to reevaluate the in-person endorsement process and calendar.

  • She hasn't announced whether she'll continue with her campaign, per Walstad.

The bottom line: The number of parents of young children serving at the state and federal level has grown in recent years.

  • But long hours, travel and societal biases mean politics isn't the most family friendly profession.
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