MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Democratic Party leaders met in closed executive session via Zoom Thursday night to discuss a rule change that would permanently ban people involved in violence from party activities, just a few days. after chaos broke out during a weekend convention to endorse a candidate for a Minneapolis City Council race.
Ken Martin, chairman of the state Democratic Party organization, called the melee that broke out Saturday night «unacceptable.»
Video circulating on social media shows that the riots began after supporters of incumbent Aisha Chughtai took the stage to seek delegate endorsements for the Ward 10 City Council seat. That sparked an uproar among supporters. from his rival, Nasri Warsame. Some jumped onto the stage, yelling, banging on tables and waving signs. At least two people were injured and the convention broke up without endorsement.
Martin said on Twitter that it was «clear that the conflict was instigated» by Warsame supporters. He went on to blame some of Warsame’s supporters on Thursday.
Martin said there were a few mistakes made, but “none of those mistakes, big or small. justify some bad actors in the Warsame campaign taking matters into their own hands and inciting, encouraging and participating in violence against other DFL participants.”
He proposed two statutes that would essentially bar people involved in «physical attacks, terrorist threats, or violent acts» from party activities. The first would immediately and permanently disqualify a person from seeking party endorsement if they or their campaign supporters engage in such acts. The second would permanently bar a person who carried out such acts from any elected or appointed office within the party, including delegate or alternate at a convention.
“Disagreements over how a convention was run is not an excuse for violence. Not understanding the convention process is not an excuse for violence,» Martin said. He later added: «The reality is, if we don’t act, this will only encourage people in the future to use this as a tactic to essentially force the suspension of conventions.»
Thursday’s meeting was an emergency meeting of the party’s executive committee. Their recommendation would go to the DFL State Central Committee for final approval.
Both candidates are Democrats in an overwhelmingly Democratic city where campaigns for the party’s endorsement are often heated. Warsame, a newcomer to politics, is a Somali immigrant.
Chughtai is a longtime activist who led the 2018 campaign of US Representative Ilhan Omar. She is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and is supported by some prominent Somali American politicians, including Omar and state Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, and other Muslims, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Chughtai is supported by a long list of progressive and labor groups, including the Democratic Socialists of America. Warsame has campaigned on a message of law and order.
Warsame told a press conference on Wednesday: “I do not condone violence. I do not condone bullying or harassment of any kind.» Before Thursday’s closed-door session, Warsame campaign manager Abshir Omar told the executive committee that he supports Martin’s message condemning violence, but was put off by statements blaming Warsame supporters. , saying party officials never contacted the campaign to side with them. of history.
Samuel Doten. who chaired Saturday’s convention, told the committee that the chaos developed due to the actions of some five to 10 people, and that he did not represent all of Warsame’s supporters. He urged the committee to avoid depriving the Somali community of participating in the process.
Chughtai issued a statement on Wednesday saying the video does not match the Warsame campaign’s version of events.
“Campaigns that are winning and have the support of the people are not violently disrupting the process,” he said. “As a campaign and as a movement, we are on the path to a safer and fairer Minneapolis, and we look forward to continuing to share that vision with the people of District 10.”