Since it doesn’t look like anyone else has, I’ll give a rundown of what happened at our endorsing convention last Saturday here in the new SD 42 (containing parts of the old SDs 50, 51, 53, and 54 – Shoreview, Arden Hills, Mounds View, Vadnais Heights, Little Canada, Gem Lake, and portions of Spring Lake Park and Roseville).
This district technically has three open seats. The only incumbent within its lines is Bev Scalze, who currently sits in the House but has decided to run for the Senate this year instead. Four candidates vied for endorsement on the A side and three on the B side (Bev’s old district).
The first portion of the convention went very smoothly. We approved of the agenda, rules, and party officers without incident. In multiple instances where there appeared to be a contest for a party officer position, someone voluntarily withdrew before a ballot occurred. Bill Krueger was elected senate district Chair. As a result, the convention chair sought and was granted permission to change the agenda to move the previously “time certain” 11:00am start on Senate endorsement up by about an hour.
Bev Scalze ran unopposed and was quickly endorsed for the Senate seat. According to the convention’s rules, as an uncontested race there was no question and answer period, so she really didn’t have to do much. That may have actually been a mistake for the district, as the entire A side is new to Bev, so she’ll need to introduce herself to a lot of party activists and this would have been a good opportunity to do that.
Following Bev’s endorsement, we broke for lunch, and then split into separate House district conventions. I was on the A side, so I don’t know much about the B side proceedings, but I can at least summarize. The candidates for the B side were Tammy Pust (Roseville City Council member), Sheila Kelly (estate planning lawyer, Vadnais Heights), and Jason Isaacson (college instructor, Shoreview). On the first ballot Isaacson led with 54 votes over Pust’s 37, and Kelly dropped out after that ballot. On the second ballot with only them remaining, Isaacson received 57 votes and Pust got 43. Jason Isaacson was then endorsed on the third ballot – I’m not sure of the vote total.
Meanwhile on the A side, the four candidates were Nick Tamble (greenhouse and landscaping business owner, Arden Hills), Josey Warren (party activist and retired teacher, Mounds View), Barb Yarusso (teacher/tutorer/professor, Shoreview – my mother), and Chuck Anderson (union activist and retired school counselor, Shoreview). Josey had the organizational lead coming in from her past connections in Mounds View from her old senate district, but many delegates came in undecided and not knowing any of the candidates. On the first ballot Warren led with 51 votes, followed by Yarusso with 36, Tamble with 14, and Anderson with 2. Anderson was dropped by convention rules, and Tamble voluntarily withdrew after the first ballot. On the second ballot Barb picked up all of the votes from the exited candidates, resulting in 52 votes to Warren’s 51. A motion was made at this point to allow for additional Q&A, but failed. We proceeded to a third ballot, which resulted in 53 for Yarusso and 48 for Warren. Then on a fourth ballot Barb Yarusso was endorsed with 62 votes to Warren’s 39.
In both house districts the losing candidates were quick to congratulate the new endorsees and express support for their campaigns.
The A side took significantly longer to finish their endorsement, as by the time things were wrapping up there our conveners were warning people not to leave the building or we might lose quorum before electing delegates to the state convention, as many of the B side delegates had already left. We did end up retaining enough and were able to finish the agenda, and faster than I’ve ever seen before at that. Resolutions were submitted without further discussion. While more people were interested in being state delegates than we had slots, the total of those interested in being delegates or alternates was fewer than slots for those combined. Our SD secretary brilliantly separated interested persons by gender (since our delegation needed gender parity), making it obvious that we had a few too many men, three of whom then volunteered to cross over to be alternates instead, once again avoiding a ballot or any walking subcaucuses. We approved the group of delegates and alternates by voice vote, and then it was just a matter of writing down their names. I was once again selected as a delegation co-chair, along with Colie, the sister of the person who co-chaired with my last cycle in Duluth (Carlie).
All in all, a very smoothly run convention for our area once again, thanks to Beth, Peter, Evan, and the various other organizers and pre-convention committees.