One day after winning the DFL Party’s backing for governor, Erin Murphy announced state Rep. Erin Maye Quade as her running mate, a longtime organizer who Murphy hopes will give her a boost among progressives heading into a competitive August primary race.
Maye Quade is serving her first term in the House and previously worked for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison doing constituent services and organizing for DFL campaigns. She is a lifelong resident of Apple Valley, where she lives with her wife, Alyse, who also organizes for the DFL Party.
During the last legislative session, Maye Quade gained national attention after she staged a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor to protest a lack of action on gun control proposals in the chamber. She was also part of a group of women who came forward publicly about experiencing sexual harassment by two legislators while she served in office.
Addressing the crowd of delegates gathered at the party's convention on Sunday in Rochester, Maye Quade talked about her time organizing for progressive issues and candidates, and her decision to run for the House in 2016 to combat childhood hunger in her district.
"I was the only Democrat to flip a seat for the state House in 2016,” Maye Quade said. “Erin Murphy knows that Minnesotans don’t have time for timid and tippy-toe politics, and I’m joining her because I’m a leader and I’m a organizer. And leaders aren’t timid, we’re bold. And organizers don’t tippy-toe. We door knock, we march, we rally and we vote.”
At least one candidate, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, is already heading to an Aug. 14 primary race, but others could also jump in, including third-place gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto, the current state auditor, and Attorney General Lori Swanson, who unexpectedly dropped out of the endorsement race for attorney general after the first ballot Saturday. She is evaluating her options and left the door open to running in the gubernatorial primary.
Murphy said she wanted to find someone who shared her “optimism” and “ambition” for the state of Minnesota, but she also stressed Maye Quade's work organizing for progressive issues. "Erin Maye Quade and I are both organizers and we are both leaders and we are ready to do this work to build Minnesota's future, a future that is for all of the people in Minnesota," Murphy said.
Maye Quade's addition to the Murphy ticket will provide a stark contrast from Walz, who represents the conservative-leaning 1st Congressional District and has had previous support from groups like the NRA. Maye Quade’s high-profile sit-in could solidify gun-control advocates in their camp, but the pick also has the potential to alienate DFL gun owners. The suburban-urban ticket also doesn't include someone from Greater Minnesota, but both candidates said they will organize and rally across the state.
"There's not a lot that divides us, there's a lot that unites us," Maye Quade said. "Doing the work to get out there, that's the work that organizers do, and that's the work that we are going to do."