Gary Schiff loses campaign manager, fire department endorsement

Schiff (left) lost fire union president Lakosky's support after a heated exchange on the convention floor.
The DFL endorsement convention Saturday didn't go very well for anyone -- it did, after all, end in an endorsement-less pizza party -- but Gary Schiff suffered a particularly difficult day, losing his campaign manager and one of his most influential supporters.

In a surprising move, the Minneapolis Fire Department union pulled its endorsement from Schiff on the convention floor, pledging to back Mark Andrew.

Reached this morning, Schiff's campaign manager, Mark Warren, says he is also "not moving forward" with Schiff after Saturday. Warren didn't elaborate on his reasons for leaving.

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Mark Lakosky, president of the fire union, explains that his decision to rescind his endorsement for Schiff came after a heated exchange at the convention. When it appeared he would not get the votes necessary to get past the third ballot, Schiff voluntarily withdrew, and Lakosky found out he was now going to tell his delegates to back Hodges as a second choice (though he would continue his campaign if no candidate picked up the party endorsement).

The fire union has been openly critical of Hodges throughout the campaign, so Lakosky says he felt betrayed. "I went off," he says. "I'm like, 'Politics or not, how could you tell anybody to go to Hodges knowing what she's done to us, and her position against this fire department?'"

Lakosky continues: "I told him, 'F that Gary, you can't do that. You know what she is to us. You know her position against us.'"

Lakosky unofficially announced the union's support for Andrew at the convention, and will make the endorsement official this week, he says.

"Good luck to Gary and whatever he's doing," says Lakosky.

Schiff didn't return a request for comment this morning.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Schiff didn't have enough votes to pass the second round of voting.

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Spare us all the "those firefighters" ad hominems Derrick. Of course the FD needs a mayor who will be on their side considering how carved into the bone they've been forced to operate in the last 20 years, losing rigs, closing firehouses, , unprecedented firefighter layoffs, staffing on rigs and your basic general austerity measures (Hodges thinking) that leaves them unable to meet basic NFPA safety standards. For example, fire engines once staffed with 4 (1 cpt, 1 fmo, 2 ff's) are now now pulling the load with 3. And in those stations where they are training much needed cadets the rigs now only have a cadet ff rather than being mentored and operated with one senior ff??? The policies of late have done extreme damage to the departments operational abilities which puts their lives in ever increasing danger while trying to protect you and yours!!!

The one point you do make is whether the fire union can, on the spot, change its endorsement without a vote by the full body (not just the board Derrick). I seriously question that.


Those Minneapolis firefighters know how to switch candidates when they need something. They followed the winner. They know Andrews will win, so they switched to him just to cover their asses. They need a mayor who will be on their side.Question: Does Lakosky have the authority to switch endorsement without the vote of the union board? Is the firefighters union a democracy or a monarchy?

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