NORTH MANKATO —
In an early sign the endorsement may come down to the two men named Johnson, a larger than expected crowd of non-delegate guests packed the North Mankato fire hall Saturday morning holding signs supporting one of the Johnsons. About two dozen signs supported Clark Johnson and fewer than a dozen favored Karl Johnson, with few signs for the other candidates.
The winner of the DFL primary a week from Tuesday will take on Republican Allen Quist and Independence Party candidate Tim Gieseke in the Feb. 12 special election.
The winner will succeed Rep. Terry Morrow, the St. Peter Democrat who resigned to take a job in Chicago.
The reason all four DFLers' names will be in play at the DFL primary election is because local DFL leaders were caught off guard by the compressed special election schedule announced by Gov. Mark Dayton on Jan. 8.
Party officials still hadn’t set a date for their endorsing convention and needed to wait at least 10 days due to party rules requiring that much notification to delegates.
The result? The candidate filing period, which ended last Tuesday, would be past before the convention was held. That meant non-endorsed candidates couldn’t follow the traditional practice of withdrawing their name from the ballot in deference to the endorsed candidate chosen by party activists.