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 This will be something different, a non-presidential Democratic candidate selection diary.

 Today Minnesota Congressional District 3, State Senate district 43 held its Caucus.  We have in CD-3 an opportunity at an open seat as Republican representative Jim Ramstad has announced his retirement.  Also on the docket is the endorsement of an opponent to Republican US Senator Norm Coleman.  All together now,  YUCK!

Minnesota state senate district 43 is in the affluent western suburbs of Minneapolis.  SD43 is partially in Minnetonka and partially in Plymouth.

Before any candidates spoke, Senator Amy Klobuchar made a brief speech and was very well received. She grew up in Plymouth is very much a hometown favorite here. She was in very good form.  It is plain to see that she can stay in the Senate as long as she likes.

One of the candidates for DFL endorsement for the MN-3 is Terri Bonoff who is the current State Senator of district 43.  She successfully beat the popular mayor of Plymouth for the open seat in 2005 and repeated the victory in 2006.  She was the first Democrat to take the seat in decades so the victory was a big deal.

The next candidate is Ashwin Madia  a second generation American, graduate of the Universiy of Minnesota and NYU Law.  He joined the Marines and had a tour of duty in Iraq.

Last but not least is Jim Hovland the mayor of the affluent Minneapolis suburb of Edina.

The three MN-3 candidates spoke briefly and had favorable reactions from the crowd though I would say Bonoff was cheered most loudly followed by Madia.  

Also speaking to the gathering of 530 delegates were the three main candidates for the party endorsement for US Senate seat held by Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer,and speaking for Mike Ciresi  was Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freemanwho won Amy Klobuchars old job in 2006.

Al was serious and to the point.  Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer took the mantle of Paul Wellstone.  Freeman did well by Ciresi but it was noted that Ciresi himself was not present.

After the speeches and lunch the fun began.  If you have never experienced a walking caucus you just dont know what you are missing.  First folks declared their sub-caucus name.  Franken-Madia-Healthcare for example.  After over 40 sub-caucus' were declared delegates gathered into the sub-caucus of their choice.  My wife and I split up at this point as she opted for an Obama-Franken-Bonoff sub-caucus and I went to a Franken-Madia sub-caucus.  Note that this caucus has no affect on Presidential delegates as that was determined at the first level caucus.  

Then the delegate count within each sub-caucus was counted and the various campaigns adjusted the delegates around to insure viability and the maximum resulting delegate number to advance to the next level.  From the original 530 delegates our convention got to nominate 19 delegates to advance.  The next level being the CD-3 Convention and the State convention.

After the first delegate count the various campaigns and sub-caucus' started moving folks around to maximize the delegates they could win.  It is a cross between a commodities exchange floor and a farm animal auction.  Chaos swirled all around.

When it all ended the advancing delegate count was  (unofficially):

   US Senate:
    Franken 11
    Nelson-Pallmeyer 2
    Ciresi  1
    Uncomitted 5

   MN-3 Congressional:
    Bonoff  10
    Madia    8
    Hovland  1
   
It was a long day but fun and something I would recommend to anyone.

Originally posted to ratador on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 06:16 PM PST.

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