St. Paul mayoral candidates assured residents Tuesday that they would raise the minimum wage, fight poverty and address climate change.
Many social justice advocates attended the final forum before Saturday’s DFL nominating convention. The event was hosted by local organizations the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, TakeAction, the Service Employees International Union and ISAIAH.
The attendees quizzed candidates on social issues, such as how they would protect immigrants.
“We can’t be the type of place that targets our own neighbors and our own residents. And we also have to be a place that’s about creating opportunity,” said Melvin Carter, a former council member who directs Gov. Mark Dayton’s Minnesota Children’s Cabinet.
Carter secured the most delegates during ward conventions in April. But he has far less than the 60 percent of delegates needed to win the endorsement.
Council Member Dai Thao came away with the second-most delegates, slightly more than former Council Member Pat Harris.
About a quarter of the delegates did not commit to a candidate at the seven ward conventions.
Thao’s campaign was disrupted in the middle of the ward conventions by allegations he attempted to solicit a bribe from a lobbyist and her clients. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is still investigating the allegations, and Thao continues to run.
On Tuesday, he called the allegations “a poison pill slipped into my drink that was supposed to knock me out of the mayor’s race.”
Both Carter and Thao have said they will drop out of the race if another candidate secures the DFL nomination. Harris, now senior vice president at BMO Harris Bank, has said he will remain in the race even if he doesn’t get the nomination. Tom Goldstein, a former school board member, received the least delegates and hasn’t said firmly whether he would abide by the nomination.
Green Party member Elizabeth Dickinson, a life coach and activist, and businessman Tim Holden, an independent candidate, are also vying for the mayor’s post