FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2018
SAINT PAUL – Rebecca Otto finished a very strong second in the DFL straw poll with 20% and 5696 votes—with 72% reporting. This strong showing shocked pundits and pollsters - just days ago a Star Tribune poll had her running fifth in single digits amongst DFL candidates and “undecided.”
“I am very pleased with our upset insurgent victory in the DFL straw poll,” said Rebecca Otto. “The DFL endorsement contest is now between me — the leading progressive candidate — and the conservative candidate Tim Walz, who is backed by many in the DFL establishment. I can’t wait to go to DFL county and senate district conventions around Minnesota with my economic populist message of a clean energy economy, living wage-jobs and quality, affordable health care for all Minnesotans. We need to put the common good ahead of unfettered corporate greed.”
Otto is now the leading progressive and the leading woman candidate in the race. The next progressive and woman candidate was significantly behind her with 13% of the vote — narrowly ahead of uncommitted and Chris Coleman. Otto’s progressive agenda of Single Payer health care, fighting climate change, 2 years free college tuition for all, and raising Minnesota’s minimum wage to $15 an hour were key to her strong finish. Her main opponent, conservative DFLer Tim Walz, does not support Single Payer health care, voted for the Keystone pipeline 3 times, voted to fast-track the land swap for the PolyMet sulfide mine in the Superior National Forest, and does not support 2 years free college for all Minnesotans. The endorsement and support of major progressive groups in the DFL party — the DFL Environmental Caucus and the Bernie Sanders-inspired Our Revolution MN — were key to Otto’s strong numbers.
In the straw poll Rebecca Otto trounced in the very geopolitically significant 8th Congressional District. This again shocked pundits and pollsters who believed Otto’s pro-environment stance of protecting clean water and taxpayer finances over rushing ahead with sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters would hurt her over a candidate like Walz, who has worked to hasten sulfide mining in the Superior National Forest. Otto also won her home 6th Congressional District. [ed Feb 13: final results posted Feb 12 show Walz with a 3 vote lead over Otto in the 6th (590 to 587), and Otto with a 343 vote lead over Walz in the 8th (1072 to 729), and winning Duluth/SD07 over Walz by a margin of more than 2.5 to 1 (221 to 82).]
Otto showed strength statewide. She won two the 8th congressional districts, [ed Feb 13] and was a strong second in every other one - except the 1st Congressional District, where another candidate from that district ran second and Otto ran third. Otto was leading in DFL “organizing units” all across Minnesota — including in the counties of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Chippewa, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Lake, Otter Tail, Roseau, St Louis, Stevens and Wadena in greater Minnesota. DFL “organizing units” are the counties and senate districts that elect delegates to the DFL state convention.
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