Tim Walz accepts enthusiastic DFL endorsement at Rochester State Convention – Twin Cities

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Tim Walz accepted his party’s endorsement for a second term as governor Friday at the DFL State Convention in Rochester, presenting himself as an existential line of defense against a Republican party in the state that would restrict the right to vote, take away a woman’s right to an abortion and leave schools underfunded if given power.

“When our adversaries take the stage and threaten to jail one of (Secretary of State) Steve Simon’s most honorable and efficient public servants … promise to fund schools, believe them,” Walz told delegates .

“When they stood on stage, two white men told you they were going to talk to women about their reproductive rights and ban abortion, believe them,” he added.

Walz’s endorsement came a week after the state’s GOP nominated physician and former state senator Scott Jensen as its gubernatorial candidate.

Walz received wholehearted support from DFL delegates at a convention that had little drama, unlike 2018, when delegates voted Walz down in favor of the more liberal candidate, Senator Erin Murphy now says.

In his acceptance speech, Walz acknowledged that the past two years have been like “none of our lives.”

But he said his approach to the pandemic was justified by the lives saved. He said if “we hadn’t done it our way,” Minnesota would have topped the list in terms of statewide death rates — like Mississippi where “people are dying in large numbers and the economy is undermined”.

Walz also said that to make Minnesota “the best state it can be,” paid family leave must be given to families. Quality childcare services must also be offered to them. He also said that labor rights are human rights.

“This state is pro-worker and always will be,” Walz told the cheering crowd.

Walz’s bid for a second term comes at a time when Republicans across the country feel energized and motivated. The Pennsylvania and North Carolina primaries featured a surge of Republican voters at the polls this week, surging past the midterms.

Inflation has reached its highest level in four decades under Democratic President Joe Biden. Gas prices soared to over $4 a gallon. And voters are spending more on groceries to feed their families.

But whether that turbulent mood takes root in Minnesota, where the GOP has been frozen from the governor’s office for 16 years and four election cycles, is less clear.

A Mankato social studies teacher and former member of the National Guard, Walz represented the state’s 1st congressional district from 2007 to 2019 before moving to the governor’s mansion.

Governor Tim Walz salutes during the presentation of the colors during the Minnesota DFL State Convention on May 20, 2022 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. (Traci Westcott/Post Bulletin)

A common theme in the delegates’ interviews and comments on Friday was the threat women face in losing their right to abortion. At the convention, it was used as a rallying cry to urge activists to go to the polls and campaign for Democratic candidates.

“Abortion and birth control are on the ballot this year like they’ve never been in our lifetimes,” Sara Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Central States, told delegates. -north. “We are ready to fight, DFLers.”

“Abortion is essential health care,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said in her acceptance speech. “The Republicans want to bring us back before Roe, which is unacceptable.”

Among Walz’s strengths is a huge fundraising advantage over Jensen.

Delegates to the state’s DFL convention in Rochester acknowledged how challenging the past two years have been, both nationally and statewide, in terms of battling a global pandemic and the disruption it has caused. Supporters said Walz was governing in difficult times and using science to steer the state through a pandemic that only happens once in a century.

Walz also presided over a period of violence and rioting in the Twin Cities following the police killing of George Floyd and the racial reckoning that followed. Republicans accused Walz of letting the riot spiral out of control and failing to take stronger action.

Delegates expressed optimism about Walz’s re-election prospects.

Sharon Erickson-Ropes, a former DFL state senator and resident of Two Harbors, said she was confident Minnesota voters would give Walz credit for his handling of the virus and elect him for another term of office. four years.

“I think Tim has done a great job of getting us through COVID. People are not happy,” Erickson-Ropes said. “But, you know, we’re dealing with a pandemic.”

Erikson-Ropes said voters would have a choice between a centre-left DFL candidate in Walz and a far-right candidate in Jensen.

“Tim is not as liberal as a lot of Democrats,” she said. “He rules from the centre-left, where you have to rule a state. So it will be the centre-left against the extreme right.

If delegates felt a sense of worry and uncertainty about their changes in November, they did not betray those feelings on Friday night.

Other delegates also expressed concerns and fears that Roe v. Wade, a constitutional guarantee of a woman’s right to abortion, be overturned. A draft Supreme Court opinion leaked last month said the 50-year precedent could be overturned.

“I think people are tired of divisive Republicans,” said Del Jenkins, senior network architect and Cokato delegate. “And I think a woman’s right to choose is really going to be a top issue in this election.”

Jensen said the right to abortion should be limited only to cases where the woman’s life is in danger. Although Doe v. Gomez of Minnesota’s Supreme County guarantees women’s abortion rights in Minnesota, Republicans say they would seek to amend the state constitution and overturn precedent.

La Crescent City Council member and delegate Teresa O’Donnell-Ebner also agreed that the potential loss of abortion rights will motivate Democrats to go to the polls.

“I think that’s going to be a big factor,” O’Donnell-Eber said. “I think it’s going to be another chance for us to have good conversations with people. I think the vast majority want this ruling to be implemented in some form or another.

David Erickson, a delegate from Eden Prairie, said he felt Jensen, who opposed Walz’s pandemic public health orders, sounded “a bit outside the mainstream for Minnesotans.”

“Conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents are such a key bloc,” he said. “I think they’re going to look at the situation and say it’s not wise to change horses in the middle of the stream.”

Michael J. Chiaramonte