Tim H. from TCDSA Electoral Committee
With the year half over, we are at an important checkpoint with five endorsed candidates for office on the ballot for the August 9th Primary. Omar Fateh, Zaynab Mohamed, and Sheigh Freeberg are all running for State Senate, in districts 62, 63, and 65, respectively. Additionally, Athena Hollins in running for reelection to the State House in district 66B, and Mai Chong Xiong is running for Ramsey Commissioner District 6, with only Athena Hollins running unopposed. Early voting is open now until August 9th. You can check if you’re registered to vote, get a sample ballot, find your polling place and more at mnvotes.org, and with the primary coming up soon, let’s take a moment to recap and talk about where we are.
In addition to running our endorsement process, planning out how we support our endorsed candidates is one of the main roles of the Electoral Committee. There are a variety of ways that we support candidates, and we have been able to expand our work by partnering with other organizations. DSA aims to do its endorsements differently. An agenda explicitly intended to push towards the socialist horizon is rarely in step with established interests, and that is where other strategies on top of the usual efforts to spur donations or volunteers come in.
Among the many groups in the Metro that make political endorsements, few run independent canvasses. Our ability to connect with people is fundamental to our ability to make change, and with our own capacity to conduct this outreach, we can rely on an independent and durable infrastructure to support candidates. This is particularly useful in SD65, where Sheigh Freeberg is against a party endorsed former member of DFL leadership, Sandra Pappas. We are able to deploy our resources in multiple ways with this structure, including collaborating with local unions in support of Sheigh Freeberg. Brought together by our Political Action Coordinator, Twin Cities DSA, UNITE HERE 17, and SPFE are working together to coordinate a canvassing program in SD65, in addition to Twin Cities DSA’s independent canvasses and efforts in other races. Last year we developed the skills necessary for effective, volunteer led and run canvasses. From July to November, we knocked over 6,000 doors independently, and we are asking you once again to turn out and knock at DSA canvasses.
The self-direction of our canvassing structure reflects how Twin Cities DSA considers endorsements. And following the primary, we will once again have candidates who we will ask you, the members, to evaluate and consider. Candidates are listed below, and the Electoral Committee will soon look to set the timeline. As a refresher, that includes a multi-step process, which includes asking candidates to fill out office specific questionnaires; asking members to weigh in on the race and candidates by submitting motions on if we should consider their endorsement; and hosting meetings with candidates where members can engage and ask questions.
· Samantha Sencer-Mura (Minnesota State House 63A)
· Leigh Finke (Minnesota State House 66A)
· Fathia Feerayarre (Minneapolis School Board District 3)
· Jonathan Healy (Robbinsdale City Council Ward 3)
· Aaron Wagner (Robbinsdale City Council Ward 4)
Both considering the geographic scope of the requests, and the number of candidates who have contacted us, we rely on the membership’s thoughtfulness, as this is a significant commitment on the part of the chapter. This should be seen as an affirmative sign off by folks, vouching your confidence that the candidate embodies DSA values and would positively represent democratic socialism in their campaign and if they are elected, that it is worth the chapter to consider putting capacity into supporting.