Dave Pinto wins 64B DFL endorsement

Assistant Ramsey County attorney Dave Pinto has won the 64B DFL endorsement. Pinto won the nod outright on the fourth ballot, with 61 percent of the votes. TakeAction Minnesota’s Greta Bergstrom came in second, with 38 percent of the vote. Legislative staffer Melanie McMahon finished third, getting 13.9 percent, slighting besting Matt Freeman, most recently the campaign manager and still a staffer for mayor Chris Coleman. Deputy secretary of state Beth Fraser was knocked out in the first round, finishing with 9.9 percent, just below the 10 percent cutoff. Gloria Zaiger had 8.1 percent, and was also eliminated on the first ballot.

Pinto could still face a challenge in the August primary, although all of today’s candidates promised not to file to run against him. The winner of that primary may face a GOP and possibly a Green Party candidate in the November election, although neither party has fielded a candidate yet.

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Second ballot results at 64B DFL convention

No drop off on this ballot. Here’s the result:

Dave Pinto: 39.7 percent
Greta Bergstrom: 27.25 percent
Matt Freeman: 16.6 percent
Melanie McMahon: 16.1 percent

Next ballot dropoff is 20 percent.

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First ballot results at 64B DFL convention

Dave Pinto has the early lead. Here are the results from the first ballot:

Dave Pinto: 29.6 percent
Greta Bergstrom: 23.6 percent
Matt Freeman: 14.6 percent
Melanie McMahon: 13.4 percent
Beth Fraser: 9.9 percent
Gloria Zaiger: 8.1 percent

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Here’s the rules for the rest of the endorsement process

Here are the rules guiding the 64B convention:

Anybody with less than 10 percent of the ballots in the first round will be dropped — which could easily leave EVERYBODY in the race for the second ballot. The drop-off only goes up by 5 percent per round, which may mean the runners up may linger on a little longer.

Here’s the relevant rule:

Candidates receiving less than 10% will be dropped after the first ballot. On subsequent ballots, the drop-off percentage will be raised by 5% each ballot. In addition, after the 3rd ballot, the lowest remaining candidate will be dropped, regardless of the candidate’s percentage.
However, in no case will this drop-off rule be used to reduce the number of candidates remaining on the next ballot to less than two.

There are a couple of fail safes in the rules. The Senate District DFL will NOT endorse before the primary if the convention doesn’t pick a candidate — it’s do or die today. Also, no “no endorsement” motion can be introduced before the 7th ballot.

See the whole shebang below:

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Question and answers with the six DFL candidates at 64B convention

Q: What is your 10 year goal?

Zaiger: Climate change needs our attention, in terms of changing transportation, making sure farmers, forests are ready. We need to start now.
Pinto: Early childhood care. Every low-income kid needs high quality pre-school care and a ready to start Kindergarten and ready for school.
Freeman: My top priority would be education. We need universal pre-K education. We also need to make sure higher education is accessible for everyone.
Bergstrom: We have racial and economic disparities in Minnesota that are off the charts. We need to reduce and eradicate those gaps, including higher minimum wage, universal health care.
McMahon: Education is critical. We need to have every kid coming to school ready to learn. Expand early childhood education scholarships, school-based preschool and birth to 3 programs.
Fraser: We need to guard our voting rights. They are under threat and we need to guard them better, improve voter registration and expand the franchise.

Q: Would you advocate for single-payer health care if it came up in 2015?

Fraser: Yes. I would sponsor legislation.
Zaiger: Yes.
Pinto: Yes, I’d support that.
Freeman: Yes. We need to support everyone in our community.
Bergstrom: Yes. Everybody must be in, nobody out.
McMahon: Yes, I support it.

Q: Would you vote against a union that endorsed you or contributed to you?

McMahon: Yes. I will vote my conscience.
Fraser: Yes. When it comes to PolyMet, I will choose the environment.
Zaiger: Yes, I have already taken difficult stands in this race, as evidenced by my NOW rating.
Pinto: Yes. I will vote the way I believe, what’s best for our community and state.
Freeman: Yes. I have already had hard conversations with unions about copper-nickel mining.
Bergstrom: Yes. I will represent the interests of 64B, and I would vote against an organization that endorsed me if it was the right thing to do.

Q: How should school science classes address evolution and climate change?

Bergstrom: We need to address both of these directly.
McMahon: I think all science classes ought to be about science.
Fraser: Good answer.
Zaiger: We all agree about evolution. There shouldn’t be any debate about this. We need to talk about climate change in the broader context of the outdoors.
Pinto: Climate change is a must for education in Minnesota.
Freeman: We need to focus on the data and the evidence, and find partnerships to make fighting climate change practical.

Q: What distinguishes you from the competition?

Freeman: I’ve worked in multiple levels of government, all across the state. That’s the kind of cooperation it’ll take to do projects like redeveloping the Ford Plant.
Bergstrom: I have two decades of experience working on some of the toughest electoral and issue campaigns that DFLers care about. (Note: She notes she met her husband on one of Mike Freeman’s campaign)
McMahon: She’s the third generation of her family to live in 64B. She’s worked on both the Highland District Council and the Legislature.
Fraser: 1) I’m a lesbian. 2) I’ve worked hard on important legislation already.
Zaiger: We have enough legislators with experience with the Legislature. I have real-life experience and am the only candidate to grow up in a low-income family and know what a difference government can make.
Pinto: I have an inclusive, collaborative style; I’ve done many neighborhood activities, like neighborhood cleanups, and I’m worked hard to fight domestic violence and sex trafficking as a prosecutor.

Q: There are many seniors in 64B. What will you do to help them?

Pinto: We need a wide variety of ways for people to stay in the community.
Freeman: We need to invest in infrastructure for the aging, including transportation and community based continuity care. Other parts of the state need help, too.
Bergstrom: We need more and a wider variety of senior housing.
McMahon: Home care services are very important to keeping people in their homes and in their community.
Fraser: We need to bolster the wages of home health care workers to make sure Minnesota has the workforce to take care of the aging.
Zaiger: We need to better coordinate the services we have, so home health care, hospice, transit can be integrated.

Q: Will you suspend your campaign if someone else is endorsed?

A: All six say “Yes.”

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Opening speeches are done, Q&A is next

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Getting down to business, 64B endorsement about to start

State Rep. Michael Paymar addresses DFL convention for last time in office.

State Rep. Michael Paymar addresses DFL convention for last time in office.

The District 64 DFL convention is underway at Central High School right now. The first two hours have been party business, and delegates are working their way through the subcaucuses at this hour. Delegates are wrapping up item  No. 17 on the convention agenda,  and they’re hearing a farewell from State Rep. Michael Paymar. They’ll soon start No. 18: Endorsement of Candidate for HD 64B.

That will start the scramble for delegates in the gym at Central High. Here’s the floor managers for the respective campaigns:

  • Dave Pinto: Cristine Almeida and Jon Grebner
  • Beth Fraser: Julie Strother
  • Greta Bergstrom: Emma Greenman
  • Melanie McMahon: John Kavanagh, Liz McLoone Dybvig
  • Matt Freeman: Nancy Haas
  • Gloria Zaiger: Peter Mitchell
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Senate District 64 Convention
Central High, St. PaulMarch 23rd, 2014
Convention starts at 11 AM
Who is Running So Far

Melanie McMahon
Matt Freeman
Greta Bergstrom
Gloria Zaiger
Dave Pinto
Beth Fraser

The Fine Print
I'm a journalist that typically covers other subjects, but I live in 64B and have known the neighborhood and its politics for years. Neither I, or this blog, offer any endorsement, approval or favor of any candidates or parties in the 64B House District election. I do not contribute financially or otherwise to candidates, participate in caucuses or have anything else to do with the political process. This blog is for purely political entertainment purposes only and reflects only my personal work, not the position of my employer or anyone else.
Tim Nelson

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