BY DAVE TILSEN
When Devin Hogan agreed to be Minneapolis DFL chair, he certainly didn’t expect the challenges ahead of him. The pandemic and the police killings caused him to stretch and learn and work very hard. Unlike many of our city officials, Devin rose to the task and is performing in a stellar manner.
When the state DFL party required that caucuses and endorsements be virtual this year, Devin again stepped up. Starting in October 2020, he held dozens of meetings to develop a way to do this. Everyone who was rumored to be running for a city office was invited to participate. As the plan required state approval, there were also modified negotiations as some outstate folks wanted to be sure there was no “Russian hacking.”
Mountains of work ensued. Publicity, phone banks, validation of participant addresses, creation of a separate ballot for each sub-caucus in each of the 130-some precincts. Hundreds of hours of work, that turned out to be remarkably error-free and clear.
The process was a success by any measure.More than twice the attendance of two years ago (a presidential year), more seniors, more immigrants, more regular people. The old system required DFLers to give up a Tuesday evening to caucus, something burdensome to young parents, the elderly, and anyone who is busy. This year to participate you could register on your iPad or computer, or call in to register by phone. The same for endorsements — no more all-day conventions, just call or log in and vote.
Some long-term DFLers who have honed their skills at manipulating the old process are not pleased.They also seem aghast at the smart new candidates who embraced the new system, and unlike before, are on equal footing.
Tony Scallon and others have complained, written letters, and filed challenges to the system. Their complaints are inaccurate or outright misinformation. They claim this process disenfranchised the very people who participated in larger numbers than ever before.