Minneapolis DFL Ward 6 convention postponed, again

You need a program to keep up with the intramural warfare in the Minneapolis Democratic (DFL) party these days.

The official party logo:

All thirteen seats (representing individual wards) on the Minneapolis city council are up for election this November. The city’s Democratic party (DFL) has managed to successfully conduct 10 of 13 endorsing conventions for the seats, so far this spring. Of the ten ward conventions completed, eight resulted in endorsements, while two ended in deadlock.

That leaves three ward conventions unaccounted for.

The convention for Ward 5 was pre-emptively cancelled at the request of the candidates. Ward 5’s incumbent councilman, Jeremiah Ellison, is being challenged for the DFL endorsement by Victor Martinez. For his part, Ellison has been a prolific fundraiser from among the ranks of alumni of the nonprofit Feeding Our Future.

The twice postponed Ward 6 virtual convention is now scheduled to take place sometime in July.

Originally scheduled for May 20, the Ward 6 meeting was pushed back when its interpreter was a no show. The meeting rescheduled for June 10 didn’t happen either because reasons. They are now looking at weekend dates in July.

Ward 6 incumbent Jamal Osman is being challenged by two other candidates. You will recall Osman’s role in the Feeding Our Future scandal. In addition to his own involvement, Osman’s wife ran her own nonprofit under a different nonprofit sponsor, Partners in Nutrition, and took $460,000 out of the free-food program.

The MN Reformer reported back in March that Osman was running third in delegate counts, pre-convention, to his two challengers, Tiger Worku and Kayseh Magan.

In May, the Reformer reported that Ward 6 was one of three wards where the credentials of convention delegates were being challenged.

Worku boasts an interesting back story. He is running for city council at the tender age of 20. At the age of 19, Worku had already published his memoir, Mosaic Republic.

At the age of 18, Worku served as the President of the Seward Neighborhood association. Worku left the organization in late 2021.

At age 16, Worku’s political activism was drawing media attention. In December 2018 (a year and a half before the George Floyd incident), the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote the following about a high school art project,

Tiger Worku, a junior at South High and one of the student leaders of the project, said his stomach still turns when he sees an officer. But the art project has given him and other students a chance to get to know their school resource officer (SRO) better.

“If you see a black man get shot repeatedly on TV and you come to school the next day and that same badge is there, it’s tough,” Worku said. “We are newer to sort of social justice in the world and we’re learning how to deal with our feelings.”

Two months later, Mpls-St. Paul magazine reported on Worku’s efforts to combat climate change at the state capitol.

“There has never been a time in American history where a child of color could have his voice heard in the way I’ve been able to have my voice heard,” Worku says. “Us youth, we’re ready to have our voice heard. We have a different perspective, and we’re ready to get in there and change laws. This is a new electorate.”

Worku’s campaign slogan is “Uncorrupted and Authentic.” Worku is a young man in a hurry.

But this being Minneapolis, there is the inevitable Feeding Our Future connection. In July 2021, a free-food nonprofit was incorporated, apparently by Worku’s mother, at the home they share in Minneapolis. The nonprofit, in turn, registered a food distribution site on University Avenue, under the Feeding Our Future banner, said to be capable of serving up to 500 children per day.

It’s not known whether this food site ever entered into operation or ever billed the state for any meals. There is no evidence that Worku himself was involved in the creation of the nonprofit or any of his mother’s previous business interests.

Keep in mind that none of the names or entities mentioned above or below have been accused of any wrongdoing in the Feeding Our Future scandal, nor have they been mentioned in any FBI search warrant or Department of Justice indictment in the case.

In Ward 10, the first attempt on May 13 at an endorsing convention had to be abandoned as a melee broke out between supporters of the incumbent Aisha Chughtai and her challenger Nasri Warsame. The state DFL party subsequently banned Warsame for life for his role in the affair.

Warsame is reportedly waging an independent campaign for the seat. To date, Warsame has yet to file campaign finance documents with the city. However, an unconfirmed Twitter report has Warsame actively raising money. That same news outlet has more on Warsame’s colorful backstory.

Warsame’s campaign manager, you will recall, has been linked to the Feeding Our Future scandal.

The convention is scheduled to reconvene remotely, without Warsame, on June 17, with electronic voting open for the subsequent four days. A new candidate is reported to have entered the race.

All of this drama has taken a toll on the city’s Democratic party chair, Briana Rose Lee. She recently took to Twitter to denounce, of all people, the late President Ronald Reagan, in a move that attracted broad criticism.

Her local party Vice Chair, Mike Norton, leapt to her defense, denouncing, among others, the state party chair, in a profanity-filled Twitter rant of his own. The fifth tweet in Norton’s June 5 thread contains this nugget,

“Blatant fraud”? Hmm, sounds like something newsworthy.

So much drama in the M-P-C.