When DFL leaders stripped the party endorsement from state Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, they highlighted an obscure rule prohibiting the support of non-endorsed candidates.
But some other legislators are doing the same thing with no apparent repercussions. For example, State Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul and Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, are both publicly supporting Matt Entenza for governor.
Chaudhary's problems mainly stemmed from his end-of-session efforts to pass new fishing rules for the northern Minnesota lake where he owns a cabin. But in making their case against Chaudhary, officials in Senate District 50 also used his public support of Mark Dayton for governor, rather than DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
They cited this party bylaw:
If a candidate who has been endorsed by a unit of the DFL
Party gives personal endorsement, financial assistance, or other
public support or public assistance to any candidate running against a
DFL-endorsed candidate for any public office, or engages in any
other act of malfeasance or nonfeasance, the central committee of the
unit that endorsed that candidate may revoke the endorsement by a
two-thirds majority vote of the members eligible to vote, following
the procedures in the Bylaw under Article III, Section 17.
Several DFL elected officials who were supporting other candidates fell in line behind Kelliher once she had won the party endorsement. Mahoney and Pelowski were among those who did not.
"I had been an early supporter of Matt Entenza for governor," Mahoney said. "It would have been uncharacteristic of me to switch or to quiet down or to switch allegiances just because someone else got the endorsement."
Mahoney, who recently sent out a letter on behalf of Entenza's campaign, said he's received very little criticism for his position.
"I've only had one person say I'll vote for anyone but you," Mahoney said.
It's been a rougher road for Pelowski, who had to fight off a labor-backed endorsement challenge for his House District 31A seat. But Pelwoski hasn't backed off his support of Enetnza.
"I think Matt's got the type of leadership skills that we need now in Minnesota," Pelowski said. "I think it's been clear to folks for the last two years that I've been working with Matt."
Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez downplayed the rule breaking.
"I know that all those legislators are going to be supporting our endorsed candidate by Wednesday, if not sooner, Melendez said. "So we'll wait until Wednesday."
Republican Tom Emmer is set to hire veteran campaign staffer Cullen Sheehan to run his campaign for governor, a source with knowledge of the discussion tells MPR News. The person said the announcement will be made soon. Emmer's campaign spokesman Bill Walsh said the campaign doesn't have anything official to announce.
The decision comes two days after Emmer's consultant, Tom Mason, quit the campaign to go back to his private public relations business. It also comes after Republican Party leaders have questioned the direction of Emmer's campaign. Some wondered why Emmer kept the tip credit issue in the news for two weeks. Others worry that his primary fundraising report shows that Emmer isn't raising enough money to compete with two of the Democrats who have already spent millions of their own money on the race.
Discussions about the hire have prompted deep disagreement internally on the direction of the campaign. Walsh has characterized any hires as "additions" to the campaign but others say Sheehan is being brought in because the campaign needs a "full scale shake-up."
Sheehan will be expected to right the ship. He will leave his position as Chief of Staff for the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus. Prior to that, he ran Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate campaign in 2008. That race with Democrat Al Franken prompted an eight month recount in which Franken won by 312 votes.
The hire comes just three days before the August 10th primary. Emmer isn't facing a significant primary challenge but he still isn't sure who he'll face in November. Three Democrats, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza, are vying for their party's nomination.
Tom Horner and Rob Hahn are vying for the Independence Party nomination.
Republican Tom Emmer has shaken up his campaign for governor. His campaign for governor sent out a news release saying Cullen Sheehan will run the campaign. The campaign will also have a new team of "senior advisors" led by Chris Georgacas.
Here's the full release:
Tom Emmer, the Republican-endorsed candidate for governor, announced today that he is reorganizing his campaign in preparation for the general election phase of the race.
Emmer announced new campaign leadership. Cullen Sheehan will become the campaign manager; and a new team of senior advisors, chaired by Chris Georgacas, will set strategy and provide oversight.
"I am very grateful to all the volunteers and staff who earlier helped me win the party endorsement and built the campaign to this point," Emmer said. "Now our organization must grow quickly for the final three months of the election campaign."
"I am excited about taking my principles for job creation and responsible, limited government directly to the people after next Tuesday's primary elections. My new campaign team leaders have enormous experience in winning elections and will help me advance my common-sense agenda for restoring Minnesota's prosperity."
Sheehan currently serves as chief of staff of the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus (from which he is taking a leave of absence). He was campaign manager of former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's re-election campaign in 2008 and historic recount battle; executive director of the Iowa Republican Party; manager of a U.S. Senate campaign in 2004; and veteran of Coleman's 2002 victory.
Georgacas is president of the public relations firm Goff & Howard. He was campaign chairman and strategist for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's winning 2002 campaign; manager of then-Mayor Norm Coleman's 1998 gubernatorial campaign; and state Republican chairman during Gov. Arne Carlson's tumultuous but successful 1994 re-election bid.
MPR News is hosting the final DFL gubernatorial debate before Tuesday's primary election. Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton and former legislator Matt Entenza are all vying for the nomination.
The debate, which will be broadcast live on MPR stations, is scheduled to start at 7pm.
The winner of Tuesday's primary will square off against Republican Tom Emmer and the winner of the Independence Party primary. Tom Horner and Rob Hahn are vying for that party's nomination. Hahn and Horner are scheduled to debate the issues on MPR's Midday at 11am on Monday.