Would you go to a horse race if you knew you wouldn’t be able to watch the finish? Sure, the winner would be announced, but you wouldn’t know whether it was a photo finish or whether the favorite won by several lengths.
That’s the sort of silliness Senate District 10 DFLers engaged in Saturday when they declined to release the vote totals of Taylor Stevenson’s first-ballot victory. Party officials reported that Stevenson won 60 percent — the benchmark that was necessary for endorsement. The Democrats even passed a motion to destroy the ballots lest some janitor or nosy media type stumble upon the vote totals.
The Democrats sat on uncomfortable seats in the Crosby-Ironton High School cafeteria for 2 1/2 hours and listened to political speeches from two unopposed House candidates and three state Senate candidates and their supporters. The votes for the Senate endorsement, the only contested race, were cast and tallied and before long one of the losing candidates announced Stevenson’s victory and pledged to support him.
Senate District 10 party officials and Stevenson declined to share the numbers with a Brainerd Dispatch reporter
If I had dedicated the better part of a beautiful Saturday afternoon to selecting and voting for a DFL candidate, I would have wanted to know how my candidate fared. If the endorsement winner, for some reason, later decided to withdraw from the race wouldn’t it be nice to know who finished second and how many votes he garnered?
Party unity is all well and good, but it’s doubtful the egos of the losing candidates would have been crushed by the release of the vote totals. Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, said it best in his endorsement acceptance speech Saturday when he addressed the realities of a candidate’s life.
“You better put your big boy pants and big girl pants on,” he told the delegates.
In politics, acknowledging the vote totals in a contested race is part of being a big boy or girl.
— Mike O’Rourke