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District 51: Mike Maguire Looking For A Primary

Posted: 04/19/12 02:02, Edited: 04/24/13 15:28

by Dave Mindeman

"His intention is to seek the endorsement".

That was the phrasing used by Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire when I asked him if he would abide by the endorsement in District 51. That is an official hedge if you look at the lexicon. Having observed politicians over the years, I have to tell you that Maguire seemed destined to run in a primary from the beginning if he was denied the endorsement.

The convention was over 3 weeks ago and Mike Maguire lost to Jim Carlson. As time went by, I thought maybe my impression was wrong. But wait. There is a problem.

Maguire is asking the party to vacate the endorsement and let primary voters decide who will represent the DFL on the November ballot. Maguire's challenge, filed Wednesday, April 18, says that local party officers last week discovered some vote-counting errors and failures to count votes in the first three of the convention's four ballots.

At the convention, Maguire never got above 43-44% of the vote. On the 4th ballot, Jim Carlson reached the 60% threshhold. Maguire contends that the balloting "irregularities" (between 4 and 6 votes) gave the convention a false assumption of the direction in momentum.

Actually, the best Maguire could have hoped for would have been to keep the voting going until a "no endorsement" was in order and it would have meant that the primary was the only option.

And so, we are headed that way anyway. Just with a different pretense. Maguire is forming a narrative that the endorsement is now "tainted" and that under those circumstances, he is justified in running in a primary even though he stated (excuse me, I meant he "intended" ) to abide by the endorsement.

Let me give some more background. Mayor Mike Maguire is an ambitious guy who assumed that a district endorsement was his for the asking. He did not expect the Carlson organization to be as strong as it turned out to be and thus, he has had to look for a method of obtaining a primary option without looking like he is renegging on his "promise" to abide. (Which he did state at the convention.)

More background. Maguire is close friends with DFL Chair Ken Martin. They both live in Eagan and I have been told they play golf together. Martin didn't look very neutral as he cheered the Maguire camp on during the convention itself. Which makes one wonder if Ken Martin shouldn't recuse himself from any involvement in this "official challenge" to the endorsement.

Another curiousity. After the third ballot, Maguire's wife tried to address the convention to "explain" the mischaracterization of her position as a lobbyist for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She was ruled out of order because she directly referred to her husband's campaign in her explanation.

Now here is my impression of this. Mrs. Maguire has every right to lobby for Blue Cross. In fact, the campaign to push for a state wide smoking ban was the absolute right thing to do and promoted a healthy environment. But, despite those wonderful intentions, Blue Cross is going to want her to advocate for the insurance companies' interests which may or may not have similar "good" intentions. And Mike Maguire would almost certainly have to be affected by that.

To the point....how likely would you think it would be that single payer would get a yes vote from a Senator Maguire?

I hate to be so blunt, but Mayor Maguire is treading on dangerous ground here. He is blasting an endorsement outcome. He is risking unity for the district Democrats. He is strong arming his way through a pledge to abide by the District endorsement. And he is going to waste precious resources on a primary fight that will give the Republican time to shore up his own resources.

I am offically not neutral here. I think Maguire is wrong to make these weak accusations in order to push the district into a destructive primary. I believe that Maguire had always assumed that he would get party backing with the wave of his hand. He was out organized and lost and now has opted for the 'scorched earth" option.

Disappointing....very disappointing.
comments (5) permalink
04/19/12 19:23
O.k., I would like to think that I?m rooting for the team with the good guys. That means those in favor of ensuring proper and fundamental fair processes. And it is clear that the irregularities in the vote tallying at the District 51 convention were not little mistakes. But more importantly, this issue is bigger than District 51 or a McGuire versus Carlson campaign.

When I was on the Constitution Commission we held a hearing about inappropriate conduct that occurred in one district convention. Those are code words for leaders taking the rules and trampling them because they know they could without consequences. Many long term leaders in the DFL would rather act to sweep things under the rug than create the harsh penalties deserved for not following the rules to the detriment of the other side and the faith that people are supposed to have in the process. These same people tried during the hearing and even after the hearing to overturn the Commission panel?s decision to order a new convention. The district was found to have engaged in an unfair process yet they were able to get their way at the state convention. The message sent by the DFL for failing to ensure swift and harsh consequences for a deterrent effect, was go ahead and do it again. And sure enough that same district did it again a couple of election cycles later.

This kind of inappropriate conduct happened again in the St. Paul City Council Race. Again, the DFL refused to hold anybody accountable and refused to institute the type of consequences that would result in deterrence.

Enter District 51. I wasn?t there, but the reports from the recent meeting appear to demonstrate that once again, many in the DFL don?t take the process seriously and fail to ensure a fair and accurate process. In attendance at the meeting were the District Chairs and Convention Chair Jules Goldstein (a man who I know is as honest as the day is long) in addition to the convention tellers and both campaign managers.

Apparently, after comparing notes at the end of the endorsement process, the delegates found there were irregularities in the vote tallying, so at the meeting one convention delegate requested to see the ballots from her Precinct on the third ballot. The convention had reported the precinct votes as being 7 votes for Carlson and McGuire 0. At the meeting one of the head tellers opened the envelope and the result was 7 for Carlson and 6 votes for McGuire. That can only be described as disturbing.

Another delegate requested to see Precinct 11, in another round. The convention reported the votes as 16 for Carlson and 12 for McGuire. When the teller opened the envelope the count was 16 for McGuire and 12 for Carlson. Now it is extremely disturbing.

Finding the need to continue the checks and balances of the disturbing results, a request was made to check Precinct 12, round 1 of balloting. The votes reported at the convention were 5 for Carlson and 1 for McGuire. The opened envelope revealed 5 for McGuire and only 1 for Carlson. Off the charts! Houston, we have a serious issue here!

If there is somebody within the DFL thinks that kind of thing is acceptable under any circumstances, they should find another political party to join. It is long past the time for the DFL members to take the process seriously and ensure that it is both proper and fair. And when it is found not to be proper and fair, the results need to be thrown out. The harsher the consequences, the better the deterrent.

So please stop with the insinuations relating to McGuire because such nonsense is just factually wrong and detrimental to all participants. There is a bigger principal here. If the DFL members finally take a stand that all processes will be fair or they will be overturned, there will be a huge incentive for all involved, especially all campaigns, to ensure proper and fair processes or risk the cost of having the results thrown out.

It is time to knock this crap off!
04/19/12 17:14
This is exactly why people felt uneasy about Maguire. His promises mean nothing.
04/19/12 09:09
Correction to MinnesotaCentral - it was 4 ballots not 6. The rules committee did not say that after 4 ballots it would be a no endorsement - this is why there are rules committees. This was a hotly contested race and to call it a no endorsement after too few votes would not have been a good idea. To have this forced to a primary is also not a good idea - we now have what is perceived to be a split in the party here and we have seen what this has done to us in the past.
04/19/12 08:23
IMO (and as an independent voter, I have no standing), primary contests have value. While the number of voters participating is generally extremely low, it gives the rank-and-file a chance to participate ... but even better, it provides some name visibility for the candidates. Admittedly in this case, both candidates have some name recognition, but this forces the candidates to reach out to supporters and shape a message for the November campaign.
The only negative that I can see by this is that with an open primary, Republicans and independents can pick the candidate (which in my analysis provided Dayton his primary win). Plus in this case, both candidates competed actively for the endorsement and it took six ballots before determining a winner ... thus, as I have written before, IMO, if no winner is determined after a number of rounds (say four or six), then no endorsement is made leaving the decision to the primary election.

BTW, Pat Garofalo seems to be smiling as he has sent out multiple tweets.
04/19/12 02:58
Just for the record: Mike Maguire filed a questionnaire seeking Stonewall DFL endorsement in January. Question #1 is "If someone else is endorsed by the DFL Party for this office, will you run against the DFL-endorsed candidate in the Primary?" His answer was "No" -- with no other qualifying statements or comments.

Stonewall DFL did endorse Maguire over Carlson for that race, but that endorsement was vacated upon the "official" DFL Party endorsement of Carlson. Carlson has not, as of this date, requested reconsideration for our endorsement.

- Erick Crail, Political Director
Stonewall DFL Caucus

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