On Wednesday, former Minneapolis City Council member and union organizer Jim Niland (DFL) now Rebecca Otto campaigner made a bold statement, which no one except maybe he, himself even believes. He posted to a Facebook group of DFL Activists claiming the following:
After another big weekend of DFL county and senate district conventions, we are tied with Tim Walz in the delegate count for the DFL endorsement. “Of delegates IDed for each candidate Otto and Walz each have 42%, Murphy has 16%, and Liebling has zero.” -Jim Niland.
Now, we have been tracking the delegate selection closely and we would either call this hyperbole, a tsunami-style spin or a bold-faced lie.
We have reached out to all of the local party unit leaders and asked for their results in the delegate selection process and gratefully, a number of them are giving us the information we have requested.
We sent out messages to the Senate District and County Chairs stating the following.
Greetings Party Leader,
We are reaching out to you to continue cultivating a relationship with DFLers throughout the state to best obtain information to publish true and accurate results on the endorsement process. Since 1998, Checks & Balances has put forward the most accurate informational analysis and insight into determining the delegates preferences on the various candidates. Our publisher Shawn Towle, is a past member of the DFL Constitutional & Bylaws Commission and he knows campaigns are often just spinning information to make their effort appear better than it actually is. We would like to learn what happened in your party unit. How many total Delegates and Alternates does your unit have including Automatic Delegates?
Earlier this week Jim Niland with the Rebecca Otto campaign made a statement we have found curious, which is based on named support, showing Rebecca Otto and Tim Walz are in a virtual dead heat with 41.93% each. This is inconsistent with what we understand and we would like to develop a more accurate picture. If we can learn information as it actually exists we will communicate to forthcoming delegates and engage with those who have yet to make their own determinations.
To do so again, especially with the great importance this election we need your assistance. We are looking for the number of named supporters for both the Governor’s and Congressional District races, where available, and the names and contact information so that we can confidentially survey them and learn their support before the respective conventions.
We have reached out to delegates in the past to gauge their support to truthfully report the situation and seek to do so again. After tomorrow, better than 50% of the delegates to the DFL State Convention will have been chosen and the process will be moving forward rapidly, so the faster you can provide us with our informational request the better we will be able to communicate the information to others. Again, we will only be writing our stories about the numeric results after contacting the delegates and not releasing their names publicly, unless with permission we publish quotes to better shape the story.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Checks & Balances
We always believe, since these public meetings, ones which anyone can observe the information should become readily available upon request.
To date, we can state our gathered data shows the order of candidates to be Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN01), Rep Erin Murphy (DFL-64A, St Paul), State Auditor Rebecca Otto (DFL-MN), and Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester) virtually nonexistent in the named delegate race. Uncommitted is currently showing some strength, but as more areas information comes available we have reason to believe the number of supporters for a specific candidate will grow and the overall ratio of named versus Uncommitted will begin to subside.
The support for each candidate seems to mirror the results of the DFL Caucus Night DFL Preference Poll. Walz is exhibiting his statewide appeal and prevailing in most of the Congressional Districts, not surprising in any way, especially in CD01. Murphy while in 2nd is noticeably back, but also has a diverse distribution of support, mainly in the Twin Cities Metropolitan communities. Otto still has a pocket of support in CD 08 and Liebling few votes, other than her own.
Now, our numbers are preliminary and include a small amount of activity from last weekend’s conventions.
We expect these numbers to change significantly as more data comes in. Because this is a fixed universe of delegates each time more information comes available it merely brings the picture into a better focus.
Right now we show Walz floating just under 40%. We have seen delegate other totals with him breaking 40% with Murphy and Otto in the mid-teens with Uncommitted falling to the high 20’s.
If the different local units or the DFL Party releases this public data, we will know what the clear picture is and not be left to spin doctoring of the campaigns. Or if dedicated Checks & Balances who attended their own conventions would contact us we will be able to share more.
During their speeches, both Murphy and Otto clearly stated they will abide by the DFL Endorsement, which is a clear differentiation from Walz, who has yet to make the same pledge. This may show an opening for what we stated previously, which is if the endorsement goes against either candidate, each may be able to seek endorsement for their existing office.
They also highlighted their opposition to gun violence, which again is intended to distinguish their campaigns from Walz. We witnessed this in one specific area, Senate District 66 where 22 delegates were in play. Walz secured 4 delegates including organized labor, Murphy locked down 4 delegates with support from nurses, Otto 3 with support from environmentalists and Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester). The remaining 10 were various types of Uncommitted.
One other interesting facet we witnessed and have learned more about is the composition of the Uncommitted sub-caucuses. We understand the subversive group Our Revolution is deploying a Divide and Concur strategy. The division is not to support a specific candidate, but rather a series of issues to organize around, like Gun Violence and School Safety, Universal Health Care or Immigrants’ rights and then move as a block to unify and select a candidate at the DFL State Convention.
This could be an effective tactic if the Uncommitted bloc remains in the 30% range, and is truly uncommitted and Murphy and Otto coalesce early in the balloting. While this is a likelihood, unsubstantiated claims like those of Niland could create a sizable divide between the Murphy and Otto camps which cannot be bridged.