By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Baird Helgeson

Sure, politics will be big at the DFL convention in Duluth this weekend. But parties will come in a close second.

From candidate karaoke to a pub crawl to a jams by hometown musician, DFLers will have no end of party options on Friday.

Here's are some of the highlights of the DFL events making the scene the day before delegates will make the pick for governor:

  • Gubernatorial candidate Paul Thissen will be partying down at a space near Sneaker's Sports Bar & Grill. The highlight: candidate karaoke,a favorite of Thissen’s wife, Karen, and campaign manager Gia Vitali. As is evident from an earlier karaoke event, Karen can actually sing. (Paul Thissen? Not so much.)
  • Candidate Rep. Tom Rukavina and his crew will be jamming to music from Virginia, Minnesota's own Paul Metsa in the Radisson's appropriately named Missabe Room at a "refreshingly honest party."
  • Candidate R.T. Rybak will have a hospitality room at the Holiday Inn that will be more "down home" than "fancy," said his campaign manager Tina Smith.
  • The Minneapolis Mayor may also make an appearance at the Duluth pub crawl hosted by Duluth Mayor Don Ness and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, among others. Coleman and Ness have both endorsed Rybak. The mayors' pub crawl, punnily named the "Progressive Party," will hit multiple spots in downtown Duluth. Folks who get their cards punched at each stop will "qualify to win prizes at the last stop -- Pizza Luce at 10:30 p.m.," according to the glossy, multicolored invite.
  • Candidate John Marty and his running mate Sen. Patricia Torres Ray will be "answering any final questions" and "celebrating the arrival of the state convention" at Grandma's Saloon in Canal Park. The campaign urges seekers to note: "We will be at Grandma's Saloon & Grill, not Grandma's Sports Garden or Grandma's Marketplace that are just up the street."
  • Candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher supporters can check out "Margaret’s Convention Cabin," an outdoor-themed hospitality room from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn in downtown Duluth. There will be a cash bar, food and S’mores. Stretching the theme nearly -- but not quite -- to the point of breaking, they're even going to have a drawing in which the winner gets to join Kelliher on the fishing opener "when she is elected governor," Jaime Tincher, Kelliher campaign manager said.
  • (Update) All of the Democrats in the Minnesota congressional delegation -- U.S. Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Jim Oberstar and Tim Walz and U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar -- have a hospitality room at the Radisson Duluth. Here's the invite.
  • (Update) The DFL Latino Caucus and the DFL African American caucus will hold a reception, hosted by state Reps. Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden at Pizza Luce on Superior St. with apps and a cash bar from 6 pm to 8 pm.
  • (Update II) reNEW Minnesota campaign will have a party from 8 pm -10pm at the Radisson Hotel (Great Hall).Expect candidates to show up to make their pitches to that group's undecided. 
  • (Update II) The Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund reception at the Holiday Inn, Skyline Room,

    will start at 5 pm and go until 7 pm, allowing delegates to get to other venues as they are heating up.


Know of more parties? Let us know and we'll update the post. And if you see someone with a notebook, not a drink, in hand at any of the parties say "Hi."

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