Local DFL, GOP leaders weigh in on Minnesota caucus night

(ABC 6 News) – Voters across the state came together ahead of the 2022 midterm elections Tuesday night.

The caucuses mark the first step in endorsing candidates for each party where neighbors come together to discuss issues important to them and to organize their local party.

Republican community members gathered in-person Tuesday night to discuss issues and help select who the endorsed candidates will be to run for positions like governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor.

"Sometimes there’s a bigger turnout for the presidential years but we’ve got a great turnout here tonight," Rep. Nels Pierson (R) Rochester, said.

Members of the DFL party chose to go with contactless caucuses this year because of COVID-19.

"This is how we endorse our candidates. Unlike many other states, endorsements of candidates are very important in Minnesota politics because endorsed candidates usually go on to win the primary, or not even have any competition in the primary, and then go onto the general election ballot," Mark Liebow, chair of Senate District 26 DFL, said.

DFL leaders say they’re not making a lot of decisions Tuesday night because of not meeting in person. People were able to deop off non-attendee forms where voters were able to write down which candidate and issues they support.

"Well, it’s really the most grassroots democracy thing we do in the party. People get together, in normal times, and these are the people of our own precinct or township and you get to talk about things, you get to meet each other, you get to talk about who should go onto the next level convention and who should be the local precinct chair or township chair and talk about resolutions," Liebow said.

Both parties agree that Olmsted County will be a big deal in Minnesota politics this year.

"Rochester is the third-largest city in the state and so there will be a lot of people involved. Rochester and Olmsted County will have a big effect on the vote in November. So, it’s a big piece," Chris Brandt, chairman of the Olmsted County Republican Party, said.

Minnesota midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8 where the governor will be elected.