Progressive candidates forgo DFL endorsements

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong



April 4, 2017




Please be advised that Minneapolis political candidates Nekima Levy-Pounds and Raeisha Williams will be holding a joint press conference on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at noon on the steps of City Hall in Minneapolis to discuss their decision to no longer seek DFL endorsements for their upcoming political races. Additional speakers include Cathy Jones, longtime DFLer and labor union member; and Pastor DeWayne Davis, resident of Minneapolis.


The city of Minneapolis has been under the governance and control of the DFL Party for decades. Despite this fact, people of color, immigrants, and indigenous populations in Minneapolis face some of the worst racial, social, and economic disparities in the country. One major reason for the persistent racial disparities is the difficulty that communities of color face in gaining and maintaining political power. Political power is further restricted by DFL caucus and convention processes that are often confusing and unwelcoming to newcomers, immigrants, and young DFLers. Beyond that, resources including time and money are wasted when the DFL convention process lasts for several hours and fails to result in the endorsement of a candidate, which occurred prior to the last mayoral election.


“Women of color especially, are often discouraged and sometimes even blocked from pursuing political office by DFL leaders and insiders. The DFL endorsement process reinforces the notion of political exclusivity and severely limits the possibility of viable candidates of color from competing for office during November elections. In the advent of ranked-choice voting, it makes little sense to keep in place an antiquated process that limits voter choices and keeps power in the hands of the few. As a true progressive, I have made a conscious decision to no longer participate in an endorsement process that limits access to electoral power and often results in inequitable outcomes,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis Mayoral candidate and civil rights attorney.


“No matter what,” Levy-Pounds continued, “I am going all the way to November and I would ask for the continued support of all who are ready to see a paradigm shift in city politics and a break from “business as usual.”


Levy-Pounds is not the only African American female candidate who has concerns about the DFL endorsement process and the exclusionary tactics that are sometimes at play. “I have chosen to not seek the DFL endorsement because I am the people’s candidate, not the system’s, not politics as usual, not the DFL party, but the people’s candidate.


“Through my experience with the DFL, I have witnessed the means that they will take to silence the voices of black women running for political office. I refuse to allow my voice to be silenced and I am committed to running for office to uplift and revitalize the North Minneapolis community. Win or lose, it will be by the hands of North Minneapolis residents who turn out at the polls on November 7th and not by a small group of people who participate in the DFL Convention,” said Raeisha Williams, Democratic City Council Candidate for Ward 5, North Minneapolis.


According to Cathy Jones, a longtime member of the DFL Party and labor union member, “The DFL party has long secured the voting power of people of color, but has failed to deliver on its promises of producing equitable outcomes for those on the margins of society. Indeed, 68% of residents favor a phased-in $15 an hour minimum wage and yet the DFL Mayor and DFL city council members have refused to respond to the will of the people. Low income workers and workers of color need the support of true progressives in office and not politicians who are focused on maintaining the status quo.”


As an alternative to the DFL Endorsement process, both Levy-Pounds and Williams are seeking The People’s Endorsement, a campaign to amplify and uplift the voices of all Minneapolis residents. More details on the campaign will be provided at the press conference.