MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two Democratic candidates in Minneapolis -- one for mayor, the other for city council -- announced Tuesday they are not seeking the DFL endorsement.
"The process is flawed, the process is broken," said activist Nekima Levy-Pounds, who's running for mayor. "Those with the money and the power are the ones whose voices are typically heard."
Levy-Pounds and Raeisha Williams both say the DFL endorsement process reinforces the notion of political exclusivity and severely limits candidates of color from competing for office during November elections.
While a DFL endorsement may be helpful, Levy-Pounds and Williams will not seek it ahead of the November election.
Longtime DFLer and labor union member Cathy Jones spoke Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, saying she and others have no faith in the DFL endorsement process.
"We say enough with the status quo," Jones said. "We are looking forward to the peoples movement that will be coming out of this campaign today."
Jones wants people to vote for the candidate that has their best interest at heart and not vote for a political party.
Levy-Pounds says DFL leaders often stand in the way of women and people of color who want to run for political office.
She says she is not telling people not to take part in the DFL caucus – which is slated for Tuesday night -- she just believes it's time to find a new way of doing things.
"We're talking about a process that includes no more than 4,000 people who control who makes it until November," Levy-Pounds said. "In the advent of rank choice voting, it makes absolutely no sense to continue an antiquated process that not only reinforces the status quo but continues to perpetuate the isolation of black women who want to seek political office."
Williams is running in Ward 5 for city council.
She says she does not want her fate decided by the powerful in the DFL party; she wants it decided by the people of north Minneapolis.
"We don't want to play the games that usually happen in campaigns," Williams said. "We wanted to be straightforward, we want to be direct, we want to be realistic about the goals we want to achieve as a community and a city together."
WCCO reached out to DFL Chairman Ken Martin for comment. He declined.
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