A progressive who tried to snatch the endorsement from long time Congresswoman Betty McCollum said Minnesota’s Democratic Party (DFL) prevented immigrants from voting to endorse her.
McCollum has been a representative for 22 years, a tenure that Amane Badhasso is seeking to end. If elected, Badhasso would become the first Oromo woman elected to Congress. She is also further left than McCollum, running as an outsider against the “establishment,” explicitly stating her opposition to “status quo politics.”
Badhasso alleged that her campaign has left DFL “insiders” feeling “petrified by the prospect of losing their grip on power.” As a result, she said the DFL launched a complex attack on minority delegates to prevent them from voting to move the party endorsement away from McCollum.
“Since March 1 our campaign has heard hundreds of stories about the strong-arm tactics the party has utilized to disenfranchise members of our community, particularly immigrants,” Badhasso wrote in a recent Star Tribune op-ed. “The effects of these voter suppression tactics are deeply felt by the immigrant community, a community that feels burned and targeted by a party that was supposed to have their backs and be their champion.”
Specifically, Badhasso points to delegates like Wintana Melekin, a long time Democrat political operative who was stripped of her delegate status after she failed to give the proper response to a text she tells MPR came from an unknown number. The text asked Melekin to confirm her status as a delegate. When Melekin asked questions she said she was removed from the convention list.
I’ve been a delegate since I was 18. I ran a voting rights organization. The text I got was threatening and disrespectful today.
this is not verification this is voter suppression. It’s an intentional attempt to limit black people from voting. pic.twitter.com/Fb6bBdxg4o
— Wintana (@oliviawoke) March 13, 2022
Both the DFL and McCollum responded to the situation when it first unfolded two months ago. Badhasso tore into the congresswoman’s post recently calling it “halfhearted.”
“My opponent had every opportunity to speak out against this injustice, but it was only when the outrage reached a fever pitch that she was forced to post a halfhearted statement,” Badhasso says.
Alpha News reached out to the DFL about this matter. However, their “media contact form” appears to ban mention of Badhasso’s name. While other requests for comment were allowed, asking about Badhasso triggered a spam filter.
The DFL’s internal election integrity issues seem to stretch down into lower races as well. Former DFL State Sen. Jeff Hayden lost his endorsement to socialist Omar Fateh who challenged him in the primary, won by a small margin and is now a state senator. Fateh won his primary in District 62 by just under 2,000 votes during an all-online endorsing process that raised security questions.
“This process has been very flawed,” Hayden observed just after his defeat. He told Sahan Journal that his campaign examined a sample of delegates who voted but could not determine if they actually lived in the district or not. “I’m really, really concerned about voter integrity,” he said during a time when the mainstream Democrat narrative dismissed most claims of election fraud.