Hodges raises stakes at Minneapolis DFL convention

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges raised the stakes of today's DFL convention, when she vowed to abide by the party's endorsement -- a pledge to end her campaign if someone else gets the nod from delegates. Hodges had previously declined to make such a firm pledge.

Candidates Mark Andrew and Gary Schiff have promised to do the same. The other contenders, Don Samuels, Jackie Cherryhomes and Jim Thomas, say they'll fight on regardless of what happens at today's convention.

Hodges made her pledge during a question and answer session, but offered no explanation. Convention rules require candidates to respond either 'yes' or 'no' when asked whether they will abide by the endorsement, although Schiff began with an emphatic "you betcha."

Conventional wisdom holds that pledging to abide by an endorsement improves a candidate's chance of getting it. Delegates like to have their will respected.

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It's possible the convention will end without an endorsement. A candidate must achieve a 60 percent super-majority to win party backing.

Delegates have just finished casting their first ballots, nearly five hours after the start of the convention. The results have not been reported, yet.

There will be at least five rounds of voting. Candidates with insufficient support will be dropped after each ballot until only two remain. The threshold to continue to round two is 10 percent.

Just because three of the candidates say they'll abide by the endorsement, doesn't mean they will. This year, three incumbent members of the Minneapolis City Council have reneged on such pledges, after their challengers won endorsement.