DFL convention

by Coralie Carlson

Taking a break from finals and papers, some University students will hobnob with Democratic Party faithfuls at the state convention starting today in St. Cloud, Minn.
Several College Democrats will join an expected 3,000 of their senior colleagues from across the state at the three-day event, which culminates with the endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate.
Thomas Kelly, communications director for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, said the competitive gubernatorial race raised interest in the convention.
“People sense that the DFL has momentum this year,” said Kelly.
Gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Hubert H. Humphrey III and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman lead the race for endorsement over four other candidates.
Humphrey leads in general public polls with 35 percent of support to Freeman’s 13 percent. But more voting delegates sided with Freeman in district convention straw polls earlier this spring. Freeman won four of the straw polls while Humphrey took just one.
Only Democratic delegates can vote at the convention endorsement this weekend.
Freeman said he will respect the party’s endorsement, but the other candidates pledged to run in September’s primary regardless of convention results.
Kevin Pomasl, College of Liberal Arts sophomore and president of Minnesota College Democrats, will have a say in those results — he is the only student delegate in District 59B. District 59B encompasses most of the Minneapolis campus. About 10 College Democrats from other schools were also elected delegates.
“There’s an unbelievable opportunity to meet new people,” said Pomasl, who attended previous conventions.
Some non-delegate students will run a College Democrat information table. Others will tally delegate ballots or serve as sergeants-at-arms and usher people on and off the floor.
“They’re all pitching in and learning the political world,” Kelly said.
But because the convention falls the weekend before finals, many University students can’t participate, said Adam Tillotson, president of the University’s College Democrats and General College freshman.
“I think school takes priority over the DFL right now,” said Tillotson.
The Reform Party will also be holding their state convention this weekend in Brooklyn Park. The party won’t be endorsing candidates for another 15 days.
They are expected to endorse former Brooklyn Park mayor and local radio celebrity Jesse Ventura for governor.
The Republicans will hold their convention June 15-17 at the Target Center.