DFL commission rejects Maguire’s endorsement challenge
The state DFL Constitution Commission on May 12 denied Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire’s challenge of the party’s endorsement of former legislator Jim Carlson.
The decision is a major setback for Maguire, who had launched a high-profile campaign in Senate District 51.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “It’s a bit dumbfounding to me, faced with the prospects that the votes weren’t counted and that the committee didn’t seem too concerned or interested in taking action.”
At the same time, the ruling reaffirmed Carlson’s prospects of challenging Republican Sen. Ted Daley this November.
“We expected it would be upheld,” Carlson said. “Now I hope Mike can get behind me so we can unite as one party.”
It is rare for a party endorsement to be contested, particularly in District 51, said John Wells, Senate District 51 chair for the DFL party.
Commission members heard several hours of testimony from either side on Saturday.
Maguire argued the party should rescind its endorsement of Carlson in light of a recent discovery that some delegate votes were not counted at February’s DFL convention.
Responding to delegate concerns, convention organizers and party officers discovered a series of vote counting errors and failures to report or count votes cast for Maguire in each of the convention’s first three ballots.
The official count in the fourth round of ballots gave Carlson 200 delegate votes, or 60 percent of the ballots. Maguire took 133 delegate votes, or 40 percent.
Despite the errors, Carlson still maintained the majority of votes.
Additionally, Jules Goldstein, associate chair of the Minnesota DFL, contended that, in accordance to party bylaws, errors must be made intentionally for an endorsement to be overturned.
Maguire has said that he believes the errors were made inadvertently.
After much deliberation, the commission ultimately ruled in favor of the party. A detailed report of the decision was expected to be released by Friday.
Maguire has the option to appeal, but has said he won’t make a decision until he reads the commission’s written report.
Trying to appeal the decision may be another uphill battle for Maguire, Wells said.
“It’s rare for an appeal to happen, and quite rare for one to succeed,” he said.