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Minnesota’s Political Party Caucuses are This Month

Todd Redmann, Chair
Lake County DFL

As you may have heard, Minnesota’s Political Par­ty Caucuses are scheduled for later this month—on the evening of February 27th. For those who have nev­er attended a caucus, you may have questions regard­ing the purpose of political caucuses, and what hap­pens at a caucus. Tradition­ally, a caucus is a political party gathering in which party members choose can­didates for an election and select delegates to attend and represent their area at political conventions.

While each political par­ty holds its own set of cau­cuses every 2 years, they usually occur on the same date and at the same time. For example, on February 27th, both the Minneso­ta DFL and the Minnesota GOP will hold their cau­cuses at locations across the state starting at 7:00 pm.

In 2016, the Minnesota legislature changed the way in which political parties determine their respective endorsed candidates for president. Presidential can­didates are no longer deter­mined through the caucus process. Instead, Minneso­ta now holds a state-wide primary election in which voters from across the state can vote from among their party’s list of candidates seeking the party’s endorse­ment. The 2024 Presiden­tial Primary Election for Minnesota is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5th. How­ever, the early voting win­dow is already open, and Lake County voters are free to cast an early ballot at the Lake County Courthouse.

You may be asking your­self, if we now have a pri­mary, why do political parties still hold caucuses? While the endorsed presi­dential candidates are de­termined by primary, po­litical parties in Minnesota still select their candidates for other offices through the political caucus and con­vention process. At your local caucus, you can seek to be a delegate to your lo­cal endorsing conventions — where the party’s state House and Senate candi­dates are selected. Caucus­es are also the way indi­viduals can help shape the set of ideas their party supports and prioritizes.

Each party develops what is commonly called a “Par­ty Platform,” a set of stanc­es or positions on a wide variety of issues of the day. While platforms exist at both the state and national levels, they all start at the local level — caucuses are the avenue by which an in­dividual can put forth an idea that might someday be included in his or her state or national party platform.

In the DFL party, caucus attendees are encouraged to bring forth “resolutions” to be discussed and voted on by others. If a majori­ty of support for that idea exists at the caucus, the resolution moves on to the county level, where it is again discussed and voted on. This process goes on all the way up to state or even national-level conventions. You can think of it as grass­roots democracy in action!

For those who consider themselves to be in general agreement with the princi­pals of the Minnesota Dem­ocratic Farmer-Labor Party, we would invite you to at­tend your local DFL caucus on Tuesday, February 27th. Doors open at 6:30 pm, with the caucus start at 7:00 pm:

Beaver Bay, Beaver Bay Township, Crystal Bay, Sil­ver Bay, and Unorganized Territory 1 residents will caucus at William Kelly High School. Two Har­bors, Silver Creek Town­ship, and Unorganized Territory 2 residents will caucus at Two Harbors High School. Stony Riv­er Township residents will caucus at the Isabella Com­munity Center, and Fall Lake Township residents will caucus at Vermilion College—Room CL-110.

Editor’s Note:

Cook County Caucus Locations

The Colvill Town Hall, 2965 East Highway 61, will host the Grand Por­tage, Hovland, Magney, and Colvill precincts.

Gunflint Trail DFlers will caucus at A. Paul and Carol Schapp Community Center, 7401 Gunflint Trail.

The Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 51 West Fifth Street in Grand Marais is the venue for the Croft­ville, both Grand Mara­is, Cascade, Maple Hill, and Pike Lake precincts.

Birch Grove Community Center, 9 Good Neighbor Hill Road in Tofte, is the lo­cation for the Lutsen, Tofte, and Schroeder Precincts.

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