This past weekend was a busy one for Uptown, with the Ward 10 DFL convention crowning Meg Tuthill with the official party endorsement. Prior to the convention both Tuthill and her opponent, Matt Filner, had promised to abide by the endorsement. Well, it’s already Tuesday, and there’s still no official announcement as to whether Filner will stay or go. While I realize there is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, let me add my voice to the larger chorus: please, Matt Filner, continue your candidacy and give Ward 10 residents – all of them, and not just the DFL faithful – to make their voice heard in November.
While Meg Tuthill won the endorsement by a respectable majority – 62.2 percent – Filner counters that delegates were not representative of the Ward as a whole. “For an extremely diverse ward,” said Filner, as quoted in the Southwest Journal, “it was an extremely non-diverse convention.”
Not everyone agrees with Filner’s assessment; one commenter on the Southwest Journal’s site asks rhetorically, “could there have been any more of a diverse of an audience? I believe Mr. Filner had a gentleman in his 90s there to represent him, and I think I saw a toddler…” So, could it have been any more diverse of an audience? Yes, of course. Diversity is not just age, or even ethnic or racial background. When you’re talking about ward diversity, than geographic diversity is important, too. By most accounts the biggest delegate turnout was from the western part of the ward, leaving residents of other areas (including Lyndale, the most diverse section of the ward and the area most often overlooked by local politics) underrepresented.
Unfortunately for Filner, he stated that he “absolutely” would abide by the endorsement. I was disappointed when he first made that statement, although I realize that there are politics involved, and that it would be difficult for a candidate to gain full support without promising to follow the process. I think it will be difficult to explain away how “absolutely” gets tossed out the window following a loss, even if that loss is based on a flawed system.
I didn’t endorse Filner or Tuthill on this blog because I think it’s best for the ward if local residents have a real choice during the real election. Yes, I assume there will eventually be a Republican (or other party) candidate, but the reality is that a Democrat, and most likely the official, endorsed Democrat, is going to win. The local DFL delegates obviously care about the ward and are committed to the neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that this limited group of people – however involved and informed - should have the power to essentially crown a winner in April.
Overall, this whole process has left a bad taste in my mouth. I know some will say it’s the system working as it should, but I simply don’t believe that this process works in a one-party town. Mr. Filner, please continue to run. Ward 10 voters – ALL of them - deserve the opportunity to make their voices heard.