All mayoral candidates remain in the race after DFL convention ends with no endorsement

The final ballots were between Mark Andrew and Betsy Hodges.
The final ballots were between Mark Andrew and Betsy Hodges.

When nearly 1,400 delegates gathered inside the Minneapolis Convention Center auditorium on Saturday morning, six candidates for mayor of Minneapolis were on the ballot for DFL endorsement: former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew; City Council Members Betsy Hodges, Gary Schiff, and Don Samuels; former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes; and teacher Jim Thomas.

Over the next 15 hours, the delegates would vote -- on paper -- four times, winnowing down the contenders to Andrew and Hodges. In between the votes came the politicking: An alliance. A recount. A walkout. But by the end of the night, the delegates who had stuck it out left the auditorium with no endorsement.

See Also:
- Endorsement scorecard: Ranking Minneapolis's wannabe mayors by support
- Who's in the race? A guide to the six candidates for Minneapolis mayor

The stakes going into the convention were high: With a race crowded by at least eight candidates -- six of them DFLers vying for endorsement -- party support could play kingmaker. Plus, frontrunners Hodges, Schiff, and Andrew all pledged to abide by the party's nod. In other words, if they didn't win it, they would drop out of the race.

While DFL chair Ken Martin strongly urged the delegates to make an endorsement, in order to get there candidates had to clear a high hurdle: 60 percent of delegate support.

Nearly five hours after they got to the Convention Center, the delegates finally cast their first ballot. When the results came back, Samuels, Cherryhomes, and Thomas had all received less than 10 percent of the vote, and were knocked out of contention.

When the second ballot came back, it showed 1,280 votes cast: 25 percent for Schiff, 31.5 percent for Hodges, and 42 percent for Andrew.

Realizing he wouldn't get the votes necessary to move past the third ballot, Schiff withdrew from contention. He urged his delegates to back Hodges as a "second choice" instead, while reassuring them that if the convention ended in a deadlock, he would continue his campaign.

As a result of the alliance, one of Schiff's early supporters, the Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82 Union, withdrew their endorsement, and slapped on Mark Andrew stickers instead. 

The results of the third ballot came in after 9 p.m., and showed a close race between Hodges and Andrew, 47 percent to 49 percent. Even after 12 hours, only 4 percent of delegates were voting for "no endorsement."

On the fourth ballot, Andrew continued to hold his lead on Hodges, 51 percent to 45 percent -- still short of the 60 percent required to win endorsement.

But then all of Hodges's supporters walked out (a move that other candidates, including retiring Mayor R.T. Rybak, have pulled before). While they snacked on pizza outside the Convention Center, back inside, the fifth ballot tested if there were still enough delegates to reach quorum and proceed.

Not long before midnight, the ballots came up short, and as a result the day reached its seemingly foregone conclusion: There would be no endorsement.

Without a primary, this means a wide-open race until November. And more candidates could still jump in: The deadline to enter isn't until July.

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