Ken Martin didn’t hide the fact that he didn’t want a pro-mining resolution brought to the convention floor at last weekend’s DFL state convention. According to this article, he got what he wanted:

Ken Martin got what he had hoped for at the DFL State Convention last weekend regarding the copper/nickel/precious metals mining issue on the Range: Nothing — no resolution for or against debated on the floor.

The state DFL Party chairman had said for a couple months in interviews and conversations with the Mesabi Daily News that his goal was to not have the controversial issue turn into a convention firefight. He succeeded, despite passionate feelings on both sides.

A floor fight would’ve been big news that the media would’ve splashed on their front pages or led their broadcasts with. Martin definitely didn’t want that. He settled for a artificial show of party unity.

The question going forward will be whether pro-mining and pro-union people will settle for that. This is just a hunch but I don’t think they will, especially considering the number of “Dump Otto” lawn signs that’ve popped up on the Range.

After the Minnesota Executive Council met last year, Rebecca Otto sent out a fundraising email saying that she was the only vote against mining exploration leases. At the time, she thought this would help raise lots of money. It might well have helped with that. Unfortunately for her, that email fell into the right hands.

There’s no question that her email played well with the Metrocrat environmental activist wing of the DFL. Unfortunately for her, there’s no question that it doesn’t play well at all on the Range. That’s why the “Dump Otto” signs popped up. That’s why Matt Entenza filed a primary challenge against her.

Entenza knows she’s vulnerable.

Politically speaking, not talking about mining at the DFL convention was smart. Unfortunately for Chairman Martin and the DFL, that’s just a temporary fix. The discontent is still boiling. The biggest dynamics change is that Republicans running for statewide office are highlighting their support for mining.

Meanwhile, the DFL’s support for mining is, putting this charitably, tepid. They’re walking a political tightrope without a safety net underneath. The DFL’s margin for error doesn’t exist. A mistake might cost their statewide candidates their races.

The tightrope act worked during the convention. That doesn’t mean, however, that things won’t boil over before Election Day. Chairman Martin better say his prayers and eat his vitamins. If he doesn’t, this could be a tough year for the DFL.

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