Minnesota DFL ratifies bylaw changes, bars candidate Nasri Warsame from seeking party endorsement

Campaign Brawl Minnesota
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chair Ken Martin gives interviews at the DFL election night party at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul, in 2022.
Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune via AP

Updated: June 2, 11 a.m.

The Minnesota DFL’s Central Committee ratified a pair of bylaw changes on Tuesday night, and in doing so banned a Minneapolis City Council candidate from seeking the party’s endorsement for any office.

The moves stem from chaos at the Minneapolis Ward 10 endorsing convention on May 13. The new rules — which were passed by the party's State Executive Committee on May 18, then ratified on Tuesday night — allow the DFL to bar people involved in threats or violence at a party event from ever seeking DFL endorsement or serving as a party official or delegate.

The ratification results in a ban on Minneapolis City Council candidate Nasri Warsame from seeking the DFL endorsement for any office. His supporters were allegedly among the instigators in the brawl at the Ward 10 convention, where he was challenging incumbent Aisha Chughtai.

Warsame on Thursday denied those allegations, criticized the DFL’s move and said he will continue his campaign.

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Bylaw changes

“We want people to know that when they enter into these halls where we’re making these decisions, that they’ll be safe, they’ll be protected and they’ll be able to support whichever candidate they choose — that is the hallmark of our grassroots process,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin told the party members who gathered on a Zoom call to debate and vote on the bylaws.

One of the bylaws allows the DFL’s State Executive Committee, after an investigation and on a two-thirds vote, to “immediately and permanently disqualify an individual from seeking the DFL endorsement or letter of support, at any level, if the individual or supporters of their campaign have engaged in, incited or consciously condoned physical assault, threats of violence, or violent acts while actively campaigning or participating in any function of the DFL Party.”

That decision can be appealed to the party’s Central Committee.

The other bylaw ratified on Tuesday allows the State Executive Committee to remove and ban anyone who engages in threats or violence at a DFL event “from elected or appointed party position, including serving as delegates or alternates to a convention, at any level.”

Martin told MPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday that it will be up to DFL officials and party members in Ward 10, whether to reconvene the disrupted convention and endorse a candidate for that Minneapolis City Council seat. The Minneapolis DFL posted on its website that the Ward 10 convention will be reconvened, but with online balloting instead of an in-person event.

Warsame responds

At a news conference on Thursday, Warsame accused the DFL of making “sweeping accusations, placing the responsibility squarely on my shoulders and those of my supporters, without conducting a thorough investigation or taking into account the perspective of key stakeholders.”

He said party leaders had not spoken with him or his campaign, or with representatives of the Somali community from Ward 10.

Warsame said he’s planning to keep running for the Minneapolis City Council seat.

“I’m committed to advocate for my community, to stand up against the challenges and to ensure our voices are heard,” he said. “Despite obstacles and unfair treatment we have faced, I want to make it clear that I will continue this campaign with unwavering determination.”