Updated: 03/28/2013 6:44 AM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser
Five DFL candidates for mayor of Minneapolis debated everything from the Vikings stadium to crime fighting Wednesday afternoon. However, the lone Republican candidate was forced to watch from the audience and not allowed to participate.
Cam Winton was told by the U of M Humphrey Institute that only DFL candidates seeking the party's endorsement would be allowed to take part in the candidate forum.
"You tend to tie the debates to the process and this is the beginning," explains Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey Institute. "It's the party competition phase. These are the leading DFL candidates for the DFL endorsement."
Winton disagreed with the decision, pointing out municipal elections in Minnesota are officially "non-partisan." He was unable to convince the debate organizers.
"The Humphrey Institute, it's stated anyway, is a non-partisan institution," says Winton. "They're taxpayer funded. This is a non-partisan race. So to provide a benefit to one party and say, oh, if you're not part of this party you can't participate. I did think that was unfortunate."
Winton, a businessman and attorney, says he isn't seeking endorsement from any party.
The major DFL candidates announced so far include former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew, former city council member Jackie Cherryhomes and current council members Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels and Gary Schiff.