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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak addressed the audience at the DECC in the Duluth at the 2010 DFL State Convention.

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

DFL wants competitive mayoral race

  • Article by: DAN MCCONNELL and ROANN CRAMER
  • January 8, 2013 - 7:20 PM

Minnesota has a rich tradition that allows neighbors -- from all political parties -- to discuss candidates, issues and ideas at their neighborhood caucuses. The DFL Party in Minneapolis is a big-tent organization, and we welcome all participants in the caucuses, conventions and campaigns. We also welcome a lively mayoral contest, as the Star Tribune Editorial Board does ("A mayoral race: May it be lively," Jan. 6).

As leaders of the Minneapolis DFL, we have been planning for some time for a highly contested mayor's race this year, and our goal is to engage as many voters as we can, regardless of whether the process results in an endorsed candidate. The party exists to provide an open venue to advocate and have in-depth discussions on important issues in our city, to get to know the candidates, and to pool resources in support of candidates who have received endorsement through a supermajority (60 percent) of our delegates.

It is not uncommon in multi-candidate races like the mayor's race this year that conventions do not endorse a candidate, and this may be the will of the convention this year. Regardless of an endorsement, there is tremendous value in engaging voters in the process, and we strive to convene a convention that is representative of the diversity of our city.

This year, because of ranked-choice voting, we'll be able to hold our caucuses later, on April 16, which will help draw even more people into the process. This will also allow candidates more time to make their cases to constituents who are potential delegates.

Should there be an endorsement, this consensus among engaged voters provides the basis and momentum for continuing our grass-roots efforts to reach voters citywide.

While the DFL's endorsement certainly gives our candidates significant advantages, it's not the sole factor in getting elected. DFL candidates who avoid knocking on doors, visiting neighborhoods and otherwise engaging with voters will always find themselves on the outside looking in come election day.

With new candidates for mayor emerging daily, we're confident that this year's contest will be lively through the caucus, convention process and the Nov. 5 general election.

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The writers are, respectively, chair and vice chair of the Minneapolis DFL Party.

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