(Note: Video of Schiff's speech announcing his intention to keep his campaign going at bottom of page.)
The Minneapolis DFL did not reach an endorsement for a mayoral candidate on Saturday night as a large group of delegates left the Convention Center after nearly 12 hours, killing the quorum needed for an endorsement and leaving a wide open mayoral race leading into this November.
After four ballots, Mark Andrew led Betsy Hodges by a 51 percent to 44 percent spread. But the delegates for Hodges walked out of the convention around 9:30 p.m.
“Everyone is hungry, everyone is tried. You can’t get any more food or drink in here. It’s been 12 hours. It’s time to go home,” said Hodges’s campaign manager, Andrew O’Leary.
Hodges had the power to kill the quorum because of the help of Gary Schiff, her colleague on the City Council.
Hodges picked up delegates from Schiff after the second ballot. Schiff was in third place and facing elimination going into the third ballot. Instead, Schiff backed Hodges as his second favorite candidate.
After the third ballot, Hodges and Schiff supporters gathered on the sidewalk and eventually left. With 1,389 delegates on the first ballot, 729 were needed for a quorum.
Andrew told his supporters to go home and watch a movie. Talking to reporters, he criticized the technique Hodges and Schiff used.
“We were ahead on every ballot of the day,” Andrew said. “There was some questionable back room politics going on. I don’t think a couple of the campaigns distinguished themselves particularly from a standpoint of good political behavior. But it is what it is and I am going to move forward as the leading candidate.”
Going into the third ballot, Schiff made an effort to throw his support behind Hodges. After delegates blocked a floor speech, Schiff instead withdrew his name from the ballot. Schiff and Hodges then locked hands and raised them in the air, showing his delegates who to vote for on the next ballot.
“I am not suspending or dropping out of the mayor’s race today,” Schiff told supporters outside of the auditorium.
Schiff said Hodges was his second choice for mayor because she shares his progressive values more than other candidates. He said he would abide by an endorsement if any candidate got it.
The firefighters union, once a strong Schiff supporter, switched its allegiance to Andrew after Schiff dropped out of the convention. Union President Mark Lakosky said he believed Schiff made the move to block an endorsement.
Don Samuels (6 percent), Jackie Cherryhomes (4.8 percent) and Jim Thomas (2.3 percent) were eliminated after the first ballot because they did not meet the 10 percent needed to advance.
In speeches given by the candidates before delegates cast ballots, Hodges took some jabs at Andrew and Cherryhomes, who served in the 1990s.
“Are we going back to the ’90s or forward to the 21st century?” she said.
Three candidates, Hodges, Andrew and Schiff, promised to end their campaigns if someone else got the endorsement. They did so when asked directly at a forum before balloting. Samuels, Cherryhomes and Thomas said they would not.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, earlier in the day, urged delegates not to leave without an endorsement.
“The stakes are too high to leave without an endorsement,” Martin told the audience.
According to party leaders, 1,401 out of the 1,659 elected delegates attended the convention — the second best attendance of the last 20 years. The city convention in 2005 — the year Peter McLaughlin challenged R.T. Rybak for the mayor's office — had the highest attendance with 2,121 delegates.
Cam Winton is running the most active campaign of non-DFLers. Winton, a Republican, is running as an independent.
Ballot 1: 1389 ballots cast, 834 needed for 60 percent
Andrew: 497 votes, 35.8 percent
Hodges: 360 votes, 25.9 percent
Schiff: 326 votes, 23.5 percent
Samuels: 83 votes, 6 percent (dropped)
Cherryhomes: 67 votes, 4.8 percent (dropped)
Thomas: 32 votes, 2.3 percent (dropped)
No endorsement: 15 votes, 1.1 percent
Ballot 2: 1280 cast, 768 needed
Andrew: 534 votes, 41.7 percent
Hodges: 403 31.5 percent
Schiff: 322, 25.2 percent
No endorsement: 21 votes 1.6 percent
Ballot 3: 1219 cast, 732 needed
Andrew: 596, 49 percent
Hodges 574, 47 percent
No endorsement: 49 votes, 4 percent
Ballot 4: 1,092 votes, 656 needed
Andrew: 547 votes, 50.1 percent
Hodges: 484 votes, 44.3 percent
No endorsement: 61 votes, 5.6 percent
Bourn wins endorsement for Park Board
Aside from the mayoral race, only one other seat had competition at the city convention. Incumbent Brad Bourn faced a challenge in the Park Board’s Sixth District.
Bourn won on the first ballot 239 votes to 45 votes, or about 84 percent to 16 percent.
Afterward, Neiman told the Journal he would continue his campaign without an endorsement,
Park Board Sixth District: 284 ballots, 171 needed for endorsement
Brad Bourn (winner): 239 votes, 84.2 percent
Josh Neiman 45 votes, 15.8 percent