A Story About Why Dems Lose Elections

Let me tell you a story about the DFL convention that gives you one of the reasons why we seem to put too many elections at risk.

Erin Murphy won the endorsement from the State DFL for the governor’s race. She went into the convention without a choice for Lieutenant Governor. Fine. She wanted to keep her options open. That is not a problem.

But when she came to make her choice on the last day of the convention, she didn’t seem to take into account basic electoral math.

So, here goes. Erin Murphy decided to choose Erin Maye Quade as her LG choice. EMQ is a DFL House Representative (Note: important). As a member of the House DFL caucus, she is running for re-election to her seat. As an incumbent, she was probably going to win. But as the LG candidate, she will have to leave her seat open and that puts this particular seat at risk because it is a swing district.

It gets better.

The convention ended on June 3. The filing deadline for the November election is June 5. No replacement candidate was researched or suggested. The whole idea was kept secret from everyone, because apparently they thought that would be a “special” point of interest. They only told people inside the Murphy campaign. They did not tell the District 57 (EMQ’s district) leadership. They did not tell District 57 Senator Greg Clausen. I don’t even know if they told DFL House caucus leadership. God, I hope so.

But there is still more.

I happen to be the communications officer for District 57. I was not told of this selection, either. I was at the convention, live blogging. On this last day, there was a lot of speculation about who would be the LG candidate (not knowing what was coming). As I surfed other blogs, I came across a GOP site that mentioned that Erin Maye Quade was going to be named LG. Needless to say, I was more than surprised. I saw a second GOP site saying the same (remember, these are GOP sites). So I tweeted about it on my own live blog, a few hours before the “secret” was revealed.

Soon, I was getting scolded by members of the Murphy campaign for breaking the “silence” (secrecy I was never told about), even though, it seemed, everyone was aware except those on the floor and the people who needed to know to prepare for a vacant House seat. I was a little perturbed you might say.

But let’s get back to the math.

Erin Murphy is well aware of the sometimes difficult task of recruiting candidates. After all, that was her job in House leadership a few years ago. But the idea of intentionally leaving an open seat in a year that we need to concentrate on taking back the House, leaves me speechless.

Remember this; the Senate is not up for re-election. Having a sitting Senator as a running mate would cost nothing electorally. If the Murphy campaign loses in the primary or the general, the Senator just goes back to his or her important seat in a Senate sitting at an even divide. But choosing a House Rep is an electoral problem. Erin Murphy could become our next governor, but could end up with another Republican controlled House of Representatives because a crucial seat was left up for grabs. The math is bad.

Sorry to be venting about this. But I have been around a long time and I have seen these kind of judgment calls made too many times. They do not seem to look at the big picture enough. They only consider their own needs in the present.

We, in the district, are hoping to scramble and get this fixed as well as we can – but DFL electoral thinking has to do better than this.



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