Okay so my battery ran out in ballot #7 yesterday...which is just a well, so here the summary with one or two observations...
First, In my opinion every single candidate (minus the of the floor Amy K. opponents) were above average and capable of performing in the positions they ran for. In many cases the only differences was style and type of experiences. This bodes well for the DFL. It means that the caliber of leadership and thier experiences will only get better in the next couple of years. Those who didn't get endorsed this time, will run for other positions in the future. It also means that our party is now positioned to provide the leaders for the future of Minnesota. The convention definitely was a Win-Win for all the delegates looking for quality candidates that understand Minnesota's needs for representation that will use our values.
In regards to those who won:
Hatch won on the voter base of union. About 35% of his base was union. They were there to vote Hatch and so his base was steady and slowly bled off the others. I guess if I was running for DFL endorsement I'd make sure to court the union first. They are a large enough block to keep your base solid while building the rest.
Mark R was pretty close to the same story with one exception. Both Christian and Mark had union but Mark came out early and had already shored up the old Dean group who bring with them many grassroots organizers. The two fractions together made the difference in tipping the scale for Mark R. I found both of the candidates to be compelling in their beliefs and passion and believe the DFL need more like these two outstanding candidates.
The Convention itself:
The DFL leadership stepped up and put on a very professional and open convention. There needs to be some tweaking of credentials (okay maybe a little more than tweaking, more like a complete overhaul of the processs) but that was minor compared to the rest of the convention.
Brian Melendez is to be congratulated for the inclusiveness of the convention. In the past, one or two key DFL staff ran the whole mismanaged show. With this convention, Brian built a team of staff and activist so that the history and learning curve will carry over to the next convention. Now that's true leadership - to see not only what has to be done now but several years down the road! This was a perfect example of how the DFL has changed for the better under Melendez's leadership. Besides running a totally open convention, he built a solid base to do the next one. Kudos to him and his staff for an excellent job!
I'd like to see more music during dead time...It's a party so let's party!
Alternates need to be involved! I've thought about this and decided there should be classes for them during the convention when they're not on the floor. Maybe one or two classes (one morning and one afternoon) for typically Democrat activities. Obviously they want to be involved so let's get them trained. Maybe bring in Wellstone to do a quick workshop or presentation. We need to recognize them for coming at their own expense without knowing if they will even get on the floor. Several time I would look up and the baloney was always full. Let's get them involved or give them something each day to feel it's worth it.
I would also offer up that they need there own entertainment so why not DFL bingo. Give those sitting in the balcony DFL bingo once or twice a day. It could be fun and informative. Or pass out quick quizzes and offer token prizes to winners. Or ask that the candidates run through the alternates first or afterwards. Come on...get them involved!
Finally, I think there should be a handout developed before caucuses that explains to delegates the time, money and travel to attend a convention. Our SD was missing several folks because they didn't realize the cost when they ran for the position. For those new, I don't believe that's unique.