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Faith group backs Rep. Erin Murphy as Tim Walz also scrambles for delegates

May 31, 2018 GMT

Rep. Erin Murphy received a major lift Thursday when her campaign for governor received the endorsement of Faith in Minnesota, a progressive religious group that expects to send 132 delegates and 44 alternates to the DFL convention in Rochester this weekend.

To receive the party endorsement, a candidate must receive 60 percent of the expected 1,400 delegates, or 840 delegates.

Faith in Minnesota is the political arm of ISAIAH, an interdenominational religious coalition of more than 100 congregations that pushes for progressive economic and social policies, including anti-poverty measures, affordable housing, public transportation and racial equity.

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Faith in Minnesota is a new player in DFL politics but made a strong showing during the spring caucus season when delegates were chosen from around the state to attend the state convention.

Lars Negstad, a Faith in Minnesota organizer, said the decision to back Murphy came after a rigorous process: “We wanted to explore which candidate would have a co-creative relationship with us around our agenda and values. And which candidate did we believe would do new a kind of politics with us in 2018,” he said. Murphy was the decisive top choice in a vote of the 176 delegates and alternates, he said.

The Faith in Minnesota delegates will be unified in Rochester, Negstad said.

Murphy has racked up an impressive set of endorsements heading into Saturday’s convention contest with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Murphy, who has represented St. Paul in the Legislature since 2006, recently won the support of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and the SEIU State Council, as well as TakeAction Minnesota, another progressive group.

Walz, who will hold a morning news conference Thursday, won the support of the state teachers union and the building trades in recent weeks.

After finishing second in the February precinct caucuses, Otto has failed to garner much labor support, and her campaign manager recently left the campaign.

The party endorsement is just the first step to being the party nominee, which will ultimately be decided by voters participating in the August 14 primary.

J. Patrick Coolican • 651-925-5042