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.”