Editorial: Gaertner view was awkward

Published 8:40 am Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner spent a lot of time and other people’s money positioning herself for what was to be a primary contest for the DFL Party’s gubernatorial endorsement.

But now it’s clear that her vow to do battle in the primary was a conditional one. She would only do so if there wasn’t another woman in the running.

Gaertner bowed out of the DFL fray on Monday, two days after House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher secured her party’s governor’s endorsement at the state convention in Duluth. In so doing, her exit from the race did not elevate her candidacy — but rather lowered it to a gender-specific level where running as a female or supporting a female is the top priority.

Email newsletter signup

DFL activists on Saturday endorsed House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher for governor, which marks the first time a woman has received the gubernatorial endorsement of one of the two major political parties in the state.

That certainly is something to celebrate. We heartily congratulate Speaker Kelliher on an endorsement of politically historic significance.

However, we would also hope that there was only a small minority of delegates who had the speaker’s gender as the No. 1 reason for their support. The major rationale should have been that of the candidates who sought the endorsement, Kelliher was picked because she was the best person for the job with the best chance for the DFL Party to be successful in the November general election.

Gaertner evidently had determined some time ago that if the House speaker won the endorsement she would not step on her moment by running against her in a primary.

Fine. But why then go through all the verbal gymnastics, fronting as someone who was going to take her campaign to the primary regardless of what happened at the DFL endorsing convention?

Just another good reason why a growing number of people are cynical about the endorsing process by activists and much prefer letting those who want to vote at the polls make the final decision on candidates in a primary.

— The Mesabi Daily News of Virginia, April 27