Hofstede drops out of DFL-endorsing process

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May 4, 2013 // UPDATED 2:33 pm - May 10, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
The scene at this morning's Third Ward DFL convention at DeLaSalle High School.
Sarah McKenzie

Jacob Frey secured the DFL endorsement for the Ward 3 City Council seat this morning after incumbent City Council Member Diane Hofstede dropped out of the endorsing process.

"I have and always will be a progressive DFLer, and I believe and share our party's values," she told delegates at the convention, which was held at DeLaSalle High School on Nicollet Island. "But in all honesty, I cannot stand before this convention and pledge to support the outcome when I cannot in good conscience support the process. Therefore I will not submit my name for nomination today. Instead, I will take my campaign to the people and let them decide." 

The news was greeted with a mix of boos and cheers. Someone in the crowd yelled: "You're going back on your word."

She said the endorsing process has been flawed and has discouraged older residents and newcomers from getting involved.

When asked what troubled her about the endorsing process after the convention, Hofstede said some Somali and older residents were confused by the walking subcaucuses that were held at some precincts in the ward during the DFL caucuses April 16. As a result, they were discouraged from participating, she said.  

A walking subcaucus is designed to give people in the minority a chance to elect delegates representing their views to future meetings. It's a method of proportional voting.

Dan McConnell, chair of the Minneapolis DFL, said he hadn't heard about those concerns.

"We have not received any challenges to my knowledge nor have I heard any specific issues from the Hofstede campaign," he said. 

Frey, a local attorney and community organizer, disputed Hofstede's criticism after he was endorsed by the delegates.

"What you see right now is a rising tide — a rising tide of seniors, of young people, of students, empty nesters, Somalis, young professionals and local business owners — all rallying around a common cause, which is very much a new Minneapolis," he said. 

The convention was packed with many Frey supporters wearing red T-shirts with the saying "Frey is my guy!" on the back.  

Jay Ludke, Frey's campaign manager, said he had internal tracking data showing more than 74 percent of delegates at the convention were supporters of Frey.

"People came out for Jacob and sent a clear message they want new leadership at City Hall," Ludke said.

Hofstede, who is seeking a third term on the City Council, has previously said she would abide by the DFL endorsement process.

She is the fourth Council Member to not secure the DFL endorsement for reelection this year. Council members Meg Tuthill, Robert Lilligren and Sandy Colvin Roy have not been endorsed by the party either. 

The DFL endorsement provides a boost to campaigns. Candidates get access to the party's voter file, help from party volunteers and inclusion on a sample ballot mailed to voters before the election in November, McConnell said.

City Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7), who is supporting Frey's campaign along with her Council colleagues Elizabeth Glidden, Robert Lilligren and Gary Schiff, had harsh words for Hofstede after the May 4 convention.

She posted the following on her Facebook page: "I know some in the 'establishment' will be mad at me for saying this but I am so proud I can't help it. Watching Jacob Frey earn the DFL endorsement today with a room full of people who believe in him made my heart soar. He is the future of City government, his vision, his passion, his commitment is what the DFL process is all about. Shame on CM Hofstede for claiming the process was unfair. What's unfair is making a false accusation to hide behind the fact she didn't have the votes. Congratulations Jacob this was a victory well earned and I wish for our City that you win and serve, my former constituents and those in in the new 3rd ward deserve nothing less!"

 A new candidate has also jumped into the race for the Third Ward council spot — Kristina Gronquist. She is seeking the Green Party's endorsement.

The new Third Ward, post-redistricting, includes neighborhoods downtown and in northeast Minneapolis. It's an area in a major growth spurt with heavy development in the North Loop neighborhood and near the University of Minnesota. It's also includes the Metrodome, which will soon be demolished to make way for the new Vikings stadium.