On Saturday, delegates to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Senate District 60 convention spent all day in Northeast Middle School to vote for a candidate to receive the party’s endorsement in the upcoming state representative elections.
Voting for the party’s endorsement did not begin until six hours after the convention started. As the day continued, candidates Mohamud Noor and Rep. Phyllis Kahn blocked frontrunner Ilhan Omar from an endorsement.
Party rules dictate that a candidate needs a 60 percent majority to secure the endorsement. Omar earned 55 percent. The failure of both Noor and Kahn to support Omar means all three will compete in a taxpayer-subsidized primary race in August.
Combined with the convention’s drawn-out proceedings, Noor and Kahn’s deliberate decision to block a candidate with a clear majority illustrates deep flaws within their political mindset. Extending a convention by holding fast to bureaucratic procedures disenfranchises voters with other commitments, such as those with children or weekend jobs.
It’s disheartening to watch candidates block a competitor who enjoys a clear majority of support. Across the state, new candidates of color face enormous opposition from the DFL establishment. It appears as though Omar — a woman of color who has never held a political office — is facing the same challenges.
Rep. Khan has served for more than 40 years. When so many voters choose change by supporting Omar, it disappoints us to see the state’s progressive party cling so firmly to the status quo.