By Shannon Cunningham
MNA Director of Governmental and Community Relations
Nurses believed that Erin Murphy would be Minnesota’s DFL endorsed candidate for Governor, and they were right. Nurses also believe that Erin Murphy will be our next Governor. I’m the lucky one who gets to tell you not only why she should be, but why she will be the first nurse Governor in the United States.
While many candidates are approaching the election with caution, Erin Murphy is doing things differently. Instead of focusing on what makes us different and divides us, she is talking about what unites us. Whether we are black, brown or white; rich, middle class or poor; from North Minneapolis, Champlin or Grand Rapids, we all want the same things. We want a job to support our family, a safe place to live, healthcare that we can afford and a good education for our children. During a time where our country is being divided, many of us are looking for someone to unify us. Erin Murphy is that person.
Erin refuses to ignore the tough issues many of us think about but few of us discuss. As she says, “this is no time for tippy-toe politics.” So instead of ignoring issues of racism, sexism, classism, and the many other “isms” of the world, she is taking them head-on and diving in to get to the root of the problem. She is talking to Minnesotans about why they feel left behind and uniting them in her common vision of a bright future for all of Minnesota. She also put her money where her mouth is by refusing to bow to the “political norms” by picking a running mate to “balance the ticket” as other candidates did. She decided to balance her ticket for Minnesotans, not for the political insiders, by running with Erin Maye Quade, a young, African-American, LGBTQ woman from the suburbs. Maye Quade is a strong and fierce advocate of equal rights for all Minnesotans and is inspiring thousands of new voters who have never been represented in the Governor’s office.
Erin is talking to Minnesotans, and those Minnesotans are talking to their friends, who are talking to their friends. In the political and labor world, we call that organizing. Unlike other candidates, Erin Murphy isn’t spending all her money on fancy TV ads (although there are a few independent ads that feature some pretty (and my) cute kids. Instead, she is spending it on putting together an infrastructure in every corner of the state that is talking to Minnesotans about what they want to see in their government. If a picture (or TV ad) is worth a thousand words, then an in-person, interactive conversation with Erin Murphy or a supporter is worth a million.
By talking to citizens in every nook and cranny of our state, Erin is appealing to people in rural areas and big cities alike. She is inspiring new and minority voters whom no poll has ever reached. Her diverse network of supporters across the state include groups like MNA, AFSCME, SEIU Healthcare, Sierra Club, TakeAction, Women Winning, OutFront and Faith in Minnesota. These groups are working actively within their memberships of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to ensure they show up at the polls and vote for Erin. Real citizens are tired of the divisive environment we are living in and ready for a positive change. And many of them will vote in their first ever primary election to demonstrate just how serious they are about this change.
Across the nation, we are seeing an increase in progressive and women candidates winning. Take Stacy Abrams. She recently became Georgia’s first black nominee for Governor. In New York, first-time candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran on a Medicare for All platform and ousted a 10-term incumbent. In June, progressive candidate Ben Jealous won the Maryland Gubernatorial primary against an incumbent Democrat by over 10% despite being more than 12 percent behind in a March poll. These wins show that progressive candidates like Erin are running and winning!
As we learned from Ben Jealous’ win in Maryland, polls aren’t always a good measure of election results, but when they show Erin can beat Tim Pawlenty 48 percent to his 40 percent in a general election face off, we agree. Not only can she win the August primary, but Erin Murphy WILL beat Tim Pawlenty in November. By standing up for working people and fighting against divisive and hateful politics, Erin Murphy is the candidate who will bring unity to our state. And that, my friends, is why she will win.