Let’s recount the DFL’s Eighth District Convention last Saturday. According to multiple tweets, Leah Phifer got the most votes in each of the 10 rounds of balloting. Still, she didn’t reach the 60% threshold needed to win the DFL’s official endorsement to run for the US House of Representatives. It was considered a fait accompli that Ms. Phifer would run in the August DFL primary. Why wouldn’t she? She was the frontrunner in each of the 10 rounds of balloting.

Late Wednesday night, though, Ms. Phifer dropped a bombshell, announcing that she wouldn’t run in the DFL primary.

In her official statement, Ms. Phifer said “My goal, since first declaring my candidacy in October 2017, has always been to win the DFL endorsement, bring new voices to the table and strengthen the party. A divisive primary season would only serve to weaken the party and distract from the issues affecting the people of the 8th District.”

This doesn’t make any sense. Phifer was the only environmental activist of the 4 candidates that were either considering running in the DFL primary or who had announced that they were running. Further, CD-8 was the only district where Rebecca Otto defeated Tim Walz. Clearly, environmental activists were activated in the Eighth. In a 4-way race, there’s no reason to think that she couldn’t have defeated her opponents.

Considering the fact that DFL Chairman Ken Martin said that a divided DFL that didn’t endorse a candidate couldn’t defeat Pete Stauber and considering the fact that the DFL was a divided shambles Saturday night after they failed to endorse a candidate, isn’t it interesting that they suddenly have 3 pro-mining candidates running in the DFL primary? What are the odds that the frontrunner, the candidate who stood between DFL unity and DFL division, unexpectedly dropped out?

It’s difficult to believe that someone who looked that energized in that picture voluntarily dropped out of the race. I think the more likely question is more nefarious. Which of Ken Martin’s inner circle forced Leah Phifer from the race?

Finally, let’s recall a little history within the CD-8 DFL. Chairman Martin and Congressman Nolan have fought to prevent a fight between the pro-mining faction within the DFL and the pro-environment faction. In fact, they fought that fight for years. Why wouldn’t they fight to prevent it one last time?

One Response to “Who silenced Leah Phifer?”

  • eric z says:

    Michelle Lee is clear on the risk-benefit of sulfide mining. Beyond that, Phifer could have defeated Stauber.

    Lee might. Radinovich would lose. However, neither of us live in that District. At a guess Nolan-Radinovich-Justin Perpich are a bloc Phifer saw as allied against her and in a primary she’d have not had funds enough to effectively move to the general election against Stauber, had she won. Radinovich and Metsa each had more cash support after being in the contest mere weeks.

    Phifer was grassroots in her approach but funds were against her. Also her stated decision is likely true and honestly decided. She was not deceptive in any part of her effort.

    She was a great candidate. While having liked the idea of her being endorsed, it did not happen and many things likely weighed against her.

    Phifer was opposed by the DFL Latino Caucus because of her having worked for ICE as part of her federal employment career. I believe that was a factor as she’d not have wanted ICE to be a primary issue dividing the DFL when the Blue Wave is wanted. So she made a choice, personal, not coerced as best as things appear. Putting party first.

    What do you think of CD1 convening, Jeff Johnson top choice for Governor, then Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens. Third, the bankster favorite, Pawlenty, who did come in ahead of Phil Parrish, who was fourth?

    Personally if I were there, which would never happen for multiple reasons, I’d have wanted Parrish third.

    DC, Florida, and secret fund raising among the Minnesota rich must mean less among the new Republicans than it used to mean. Is grassroots enthusiasm shifting, or already shifted? Or is CD1 an anomaly?

    Last, is Hagadorn a strong candidate for the House seat? What in your view is his greatest strength? Longivity as a candidate? Family bloodline? Something else? He clearly drew more support than his opponent for the nod.

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