Minnesota DFL looks to unite after fracturing, distractions in primaries

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ST. PAUL, MN (Gray DC) - The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has its sights set on big victories in November. But first they need to overcome party fracturing that occurred in the primaries this week. They say those efforts are already underway after two candidates who didn’t have DFL endorsements won big Tuesday. The party chair says they're focusing on bringing all factions of the party together with the common goal of keeping Minnesota blue.

“We’re still family. And we come together as a party now and support all of our candidates from the top of the ticket all the way down,” said Ken Martin.

Martin says there was little inner party drama during the primaries. At a unity press conference Thursday Martin would not directly answer whether he invited former gubernatorial candidate and State Attorney General Lori Swanson (DFL-MN) to join them.

“There’s no sense in re-litigating anything that happened in the primary. What’s important is making sure that we take our fight to the Republicans,” said Martin.

Rep Tim Walz (DFL-MN) defeated party-endorsed State Rep Erin Murphy (DFL-MN) in the gubernatorial race. Martin says it was a tough loss for Murphy. But she says she’s ready to fight for Walz to keep the governor’s residence a DFL shade of blue.

“I will continue to bring my voice, my work, and my door-knocking skills, and whatever else it takes to make sure we win,” said Murphy.

As Walz faces off against Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R-MN) in the general election, the party is facing questions following accusations against State Attorney General candidate Keith Ellison (DFL-MN). Ellison’s ex-girlfriend says he physically and emotionally abused her. The DFL and Walz say with what is known now, Ellison is the candidate and says they are a unified party.

“We’re focused on doing what we’ve always done is being in front of Minnesota citizens, hoping to reach where their hearts are at and what they want to see in government,” said Walz.

The DFL says they feel great about the voter turnout they saw in the primaries. They say the DFL turnout will grow even stronger for the general election if President Donald Trump returns to Minnesota to campaign for GOP candidates. Jeff Johnson has said he is thrilled to have the president’s endorsement.