Two candidates, both with Native American lineage, were endorsed to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives during the 2018 Senate District 2 DFL Convention that was held in Mahnomen on March 17.
One hundred and six delegates elected Senate District 2 DFL officers and then separated into House District 2A and 2B conventions.
In the House District 2A convention, 54 delegates endorsed Michael Northbird from rural Cass Lake to run as their DFL candidate against incumbent 2A State Rep. Matt Grossell, a Republican from Bagley.
In order to be endorsed, a DFL candidate must reach a threshold of 60 percent of the votes from convention delegates. The 2A delegation endorsed Northbird over Soren Sorensen of rural Bemidji on the first ballot of voting.
Northbird is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, also has Red Lake lineage (Ponemah), and has worked as Environmental Program Manager for the past nine years, currently employed by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. He lives on Midge Lake in Farden Township in northeastern Hubbard County.
House District 2A includes parts of Beltrami, Clearwater and Hubbard counties, and all of Lake of the Woods County. Cities in HD 2A include Akeley, Bagley, Baudette, Blackduck, Clearbrook, Funkley, Gonvick, Kelliher, Laporte, Leonard, Red Lake, Roosevelt, Shevlin, Solway, Tenstrike, Turtle River, Warroad, Williams, Wilton and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Reservation.
In the House District 2B convention, 51 delegates endorsed Karen Branden from rural Detroit Lakes to run as their DFL candidate against incumbent 2B State Rep. Steve Green, a Republican from Fosston.
Branden also reached the 60 percent threshold on the first ballot, outvoting her opponent, Darren Leno from Audubon in Becker County. Branden, who also has indigenous lineage - Metis (Ojibwe-French) out of Canada - lives northeast of Detroit Lakes in the area known as Rochert. Branden is a sociology professor, teaches at Moorhead State University, and also teaches Ojibwe Language at White Earth Community College.
House District 2B includes parts of Becker, Clearwater, Hubbard, Otter Tail and Wadena counties, and all of Mahnomen County. Cities in HD 2B include Audubon, Bejou, Callaway, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Lake Park, Mahnomen, Menahga, Nevis, Ogema, Park Rapids, Waubun, Wolf Lake and the White Earth Band of Chippewa Reservation.
Officers re-elected at the convention were Chair Ted Fiskevold of Detroit Lakes, Vice Chair Pam McCrory of rural Bemidji, Secretary of conventions Becky Colebank of rural Clearbrook, Secretary of Data Monaya Lund of rural Frazee and Treasurer Lon Engberg of rural Detroit Lakes.