DFL endorses Gagnon, Altamirano for Minneapolis school board

  • Updated: April 26, 2014 - 10:22 PM

Party’s endorsees for citywide seats on Minneapolis school board still likely will face primary opposition.

Minneapolis DFLers endorsed Rebecca Gagnon on Saturday for a second citywide school board term and selected newcomer Iris ­Altamirano from three contenders for the second citywide spot to be filled this fall.

But they face potential ballot challenges from other candidates passed over during the party’s convention at Roosevelt High School.

Gagnon was backed by 81 percent on the first ballot. That’s far better than the seven votes the southwest resident got from the convention four years ago, when she jumped into the race a couple of weeks before ­delegates met. She overcame that with a shoe-leather campaign.

The newcomer this year is Altamirano, a Northeast resident and a first-time candidate after serving as political director for Local 26 of Service Employees International Union. “Si se pudo [we did it],” she told cheering supporters wearing the union’s signature purple.

She fell one vote short of the 60 percent endorsement threshold on the first ballot but jumped to 81 percent on the second.

Looking ahead, Andrew Minck, who finished last among four ­seeking citywide endorsement, didn’t pledge to abide by the party nod. In dropping out, the Fulton neighborhood resident told delegates: “I will continue this conversation one way or another.”

Ira Jourdain, who told delegates he’d follow their endorsement and topped out at 42 percent, said afterward that he’s being urged to run by those who want a candidate with kids in schools. Altamirano’s two children are too young for school.

Perennial candidates Doug Mann and Dick Velner say they plan to file this year.

In the marquee contest for district board seat endorsements, Nelson Inz trounced Jay Larson in a first-ballot endorsement for the Nokomis-area District 5. Parent activist Larson didn’t rule out a challenge to the endorsee. Inz is a teacher at Great River charter school in St. Paul, so his endorsement by 73 percent of the delegates was notable in that it came from a convention partly aligned with labor, with some union teachers regarding charters as a threat. Inz said he thinks delegates liked his teaching experience.

In District 3, Siad Ali won the endorsement by acclamation in a bid to fill an open seat representing an area between the Nokomis seat and downtown. Newcomer Ali is a staffer for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Also, incumbent Jenny Arneson won District 1 endorsement with 91 percent support for a second term on the East Side.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

Twitter: @brandtstrib

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