Impact of the Thao Situation on the DFL Endorsement

Will he, or won’t he continue to run, is the question many people are asking about current St Paul City Council Member Dai Thao (DFL). It is no surprise Republicans are calling for his resignation, which is always interesting because they keep a tight lip when it is one of their own. Read our archives.

By our count, Thao has 112 delegates out of 550. If he were to withdraw will these supporters, mostly Hmong, from named Thao sub-caucuses show up on June 17th? If not, then the size of the convention will drop and this provides a significant advantage to the current front-runner former Ward 1 City Council member Melvin Carter III with 173 delegates by our count. Shrinking the convention on the first ballot set the quorum number, and if it remains above a simple majority of the quorum and a 60% of that amount is achieved, an endorsement can be conferred.

Therefore, we advocate for using Instant Run-off Voting (IRV0 for the endorsement, because this keeps intact the total pool of delegates (550 at the start) as the measure in each subsequent round. Since this is still the first and only ballot, the redistribution is within the confines of the same. Working through IRV establishes the greatest denominator for the division.

If the Thao contingent does participate and Thao departs the group is unguided and could easily dissipate in the 2nd ballot, or after a few rounds, which again advantages the candidate in the lead, Carter.

Since the Thao delegates are the essential variable in this scenario, and their identified leader is in peril, they should look to another leader to step forward. If the focus can shift from the personality, Thao to the community Hmong these delegates can have a stronger purpose for remaining in the process.

The east side of St Paul has the lowest turnout in the Twin Cities and if this election could focus on this disparity, then the city will benefit overall. The participation of the Hmong community in the DFL endorsement process is a positive sign and if it can extend to the general election all the better.

Now, we will be clear, we do not expect an endorsement, there is room to block from the Undecided delegates, but running a traditional DFL endorsement fight in the St Paul City Convention, with the Thao issue hanging as a pallor over it, is a greater risk.

If the Thao group blames Carter there is room for former Ward 3 City Council member Pat Harris (DFL) to benefit, but again at higher risk/higher reward, which as an investment banker, Harris should not entertain. The IRV route is a lower risk option.

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