Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party

The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) is a major political party in the U.S. state of Minnesota.[1] The party currently holds all statewide executive offices, both senatorial seats, and four of the eight congressional seats. The party has a strong base in the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The DFL, once also dominant in some traditionally working-class rural areas, like the Iron Range,[2] has begun to rapidly lose support in those areas since 2010.

Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party
ChairpersonKen Martin
GovernorTim Walz
Lieutenant GovernorPeggy Flanagan
Senate LeaderMelisa Franzen
House SpeakerMelissa Hortman
FoundedApril 15, 1944; 78 years ago (1944-04-15)
Merger ofMinnesota Democratic Party and Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party
Headquarters255 Plato Boulevard East
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Youth wingMinnesota Young DFL (MYDFL)
Modern liberalism
Political positionCenter-left
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
31 / 67
House of Representatives
70 / 134
Statewide Executive Offices
5 / 5
U.S. Senate
2 / 2
U.S. House of Representatives
4 / 8

Some of the party’s main focuses are economic growth, environmental protection, education, and government accountability. It was formed by a merger between the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party in 1944.[3]

The DFL is one of two state Democratic Party affiliates with a different name, the other being the North Dakota Democratic–Nonpartisan League Party.


DFL logo used on a lectern at the 2006 DFL state convention.
DFL 2006 state convention registration desk.

The DFL was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the larger Farmer–Labor Party.[4] Leading the merger effort were Elmer Kelm, the head of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the founding chairman of the DFL; Elmer Benson, effectively the head of the Farmer–Labor Party by virtue of his leadership of its dominant left-wing faction; and rising star Hubert H. Humphrey, who chaired the Fusion Committee that accomplished the union and then went on to chair its first state convention.

By the party's second convention in 1946, tensions had re-emerged between members of the two former parties. While the majority of delegates supported left-wing policies, Humphrey managed to install a more conservative ally, Orville Freeman, as party secretary. Some Farmer–Labor leaders such as Benson moved to the Progressive Party.[3]

Freeman was elected the state's first DFL governor in 1954. Important members of the party have included Humphrey and Walter Mondale, who each went on to be United States senators, vice presidents of the United States, and unsuccessful Democratic nominees for president; Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. senator who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968 as an anti-Vietnam War candidate; and Paul Wellstone, a U.S. senator from 1991 to 2002 who became an icon of populist progressivism.[5]

Current elected officialsEdit

Members of CongressEdit

U.S. SenateEdit

Democrats have held both of Minnesota's seats in the U.S. Senate since 2009:

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Out of the eight seats Minnesota is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, four are held by Democrats:

District Member Photo
2nd Angie Craig
3rd Dean Phillips
4th Betty McCollum
5th Ilhan Omar

Statewide officialsEdit

The Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party controls all five of the elected statewide offices:

State legislative leadersEdit

Current leadershipEdit

  • Chair: Ken Martin (since 2011)
  • Party Vice Chair: Marge Hoffa (since 2011)
  • Second Vice Chair: Shivanthi Sathanandan (since 2021)
  • Treasurer: Leah Midgarden (since 2021)
  • Secretary: Ceri Everett (since 2021)
  • Outreach Officer: Cheniqua Johnson (since 2021)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "DFL Minnesota Home - MN Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party". DFL Minnesota. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "What the Loss of Rural Democrats Means for the DFL". Twin Cities Business. November 12, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Nathanson, Iric (February 26, 2016). "The caucus that changed history: 1948's battle for control of the DFL". Minnesota Post.
  4. ^ "Democrats, F-L, Complete Fusion". The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) April 15, 1944. Saturday Page 1. {{cite news}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Loughlin, Sean (October 25, 2002). "Wellstone Made Mark as a Liberal Champion". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • Delton, Jennifer A. Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
  • Haynes, John Earl. "Farm Coops and the Election of Hubert Humphrey to the Senate". Agricultural History 57, no. 2 (Fall 1983).
  • Haynes, John Earl. Dubious Alliance: The Making of Minnesota's DFL Party. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
  • Henrickson, Gary P. Minnesota in the "McCarthy" Period: 1946–1954. Ph.D. diss. University of Minnesota, 1981.
  • Lebedoff, David. The 21st Ballot: A Political Party Struggle in Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969.
  • Lebedoff, David. Ward Number Six. New York: Scribner, 1972. Discusses the entry of radicals into the DFL party in 1968.
  • Mitau, G. Theodore (Spring 1955). "The Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party Schism of 1948" (PDF). Minnesota History. 34 (5): 187–194. JSTOR 20175887.

External linksEdit