Minnesota caucus, Feb. 5

The state will select presidential and U.S. Senate candidates next Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., precinct caucuses for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Independence Party and Republican Party will be held throughout Minnesota. Other state caucuses will be held on Feb. 2 for the Constitution Party, March 4 for the Green Party, and the Independence Party, which will caucus on Feb. 5, will also have a virtual election online through March 4. Eligible voters for the Nov. 4 general election can attend a caucus of a party they are likely to support in their community.

As caucuses are party-sponsored, and not state-sponsored like primaries, Minnesota voters will select the candidates and issues their party will support in the 2008 general election.

The state Republican Party and the DFL Party moved the date of their caucuses up by a month to have more of an influence on the 2008 presidential campaign. Candidates for the U.S. Senate will also be selected that night. The Republican caucus will be a non-binding straw poll vote, whereas the DFL caucus results will be binding. Candidates winning over 15 percent of the vote will be apportioned delegates – it is delegate support, and not votes, that select a party’s candidate.

Seventy thousand Minnesotans are expected to turn out for the DFL caucuses and 50,000 for the Republican caucuses.

Caucus participants in both parties have the option of casting their presidential vote and skipping the rest of the meeting – in which delegates will be selected, U.S. Senate candidates will be voted on and issues will be debated.

The caucus allows Minnesotans to have a voice, not just a vote, in U.S. politics. In 2008, the United States is in crisis. If you support the Iraq War, let your neighbors know it. If you are worried about the economy, let your neighbors know it. If you want universal health care, let your neighbors know it. And if you don’t support any candidate, let your neighbors know it.

When: Tuesday, February 5 at 7 p.m.

Where: Information available at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Precinct Caucus Finder on its website, www.sos.state.mn.us. Or, to contact the parties directly: Constitution Party: 763-227-4359 www.cpmn.org; DFL: 651-293-1200 www.dfl.org; Green Party: 651-288-2820 www.mngreens.org; Independence: 651-487-9700 www.mnip.org; Republican: 651-222-0022 www.mngop.org.