All six Democratic Farmer Labor party candidates for governor will make their case Friday during a forum at the annual AFSCME Council 5 convention in Duluth. Anyone can view the event on a live stream.
The candidates are St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, state Rep. Tina Liebling, state Rep. Erin Murphy, state Auditor Rebecca Otto, state Rep. Paul Thissen and Congressman Tim Walz.
All have expressed support for working families on issues of income and retirement security, education and training, and giving workers the right to organize, said AFSCME Council 5 Public Affairs Director Jennifer Munt.
"We've got zero tolerance for politicians who want to take away our freedom to join together in strong unions,” Munt said. "That's why we didn't invite the Republican candidates to our forum."
The forum will be live-streamed online at theuptake.org from 1:15-3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6.
AFSCME Council 5 is one of Minnesota's largest and most politically active unions, with 43,000 members, including state, county and city employees.
Munt said the forum marks the unofficial start of campaign season 2018.
"Nearly 900 AFSCME members will be at the forum. Our support matters. We make calls; we knock on doors,” she said. "We talk with our friends and family. That's how we win elections for working people."
Munt said in 2018, electability will be as important as where candidates stand on the issues.
"In the past, the most important thing has been somebody who embraces our values,” Munt said. "This time, the most important thing is which candidate can win."
The contest for governor may be the highest profile race, but the Minnesota House is also in play, with seven DFL House members in districts that voted for President Donald Trump, and a dozen Republicans in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton. Munt said AFSCME will make its gubernatorial endorsement closer to the general election.