(FOX 9) – A DFL state senate candidate who went into labor the morning of the party convention on Saturday had to put her speech on hold as she went into a contraction, but eventually managed to finish it.
The moment, filmed by people in the crowd, inspired some observers who see it as an example of the strength women need to overcome the unique challenges they face in their careers, but many also saw it as another example. of the injustice of the system and society that does not welcome them.
After the speech, former state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, withdrew from the nomination process after her opponent, Justin Emmerich, won the first round, 91-74. As Maye Quade then rushed to the hospital, Emmerich won the final round unopposed, securing party approval for the August 9 primary.
At 2:20 a.m., Maye Quade gave birth to Harriet Blake Maye Quade, almost exactly 24 hours after going into labor, according to his wife, Alyse Maye Quade, the former Minnesota DFL political director.
“Mom and baby are healthy and resting!” Alyse told FOX 9.
Some party activists criticized Emmerich for not asking the convention to stop once Maye Quade had to leave.
DFL candidate for MN’s District 66, Clare Oumou Verbeten, said in a Facebook post that the incident reminded her of the impact of racial inequities in the healthcare system on black women.
Emmerich spoke to FOX 9 after the convention. “I’m just focused on racing and winning in November. At the end of the day, we want to make sure we keep the seat in the hands of the DFL.” He also added that he hopes the baby is happy and healthy.
Maye Quade’s campaign manager Mitchell Walstad said they did not ask Emmerich to stop the process. However, Walstad wondered why the convention happened in the first place.
“After I had time to think about it, the thing that shocked me the most was the expectation, or so we felt, from the day and the process for her to go through this when a lot of other serious medical issues would not be met with the same expectation,” he said.
Fox 9 reached out to DFL officials for state Senate District 56 to respond, but did not hear back as of press time.
Emma McBride, Women Winning’s political director and campaign surrogate, said the experience had been intense for campaign staff.
“I think all of us there on Erin’s team were going through a wide range of emotions. Obviously feeling terrible for her to have to go through this, worrying about the stress, her health and the health of the baby, and then also to just be in awe of the show of strength that we’ve all witnessed,” McBride said.
How the day went
In the days leading up to the convention, Maye Quade’s doctor advised her not to move, but that was easier said than done, according to McBride.
“It’s not necessarily super possible when you have to go door to door and talk to delegates and attend events in the final days of one of the milestones of an election,” she said. declared.
McBride said Maye Quade gave birth at 2 a.m. the morning of the convention and stayed up all night deciding whether or not to sue.
“”She decided to come to the convention because we know how critical it is for a candidate to be at the convention to speak to delegates,” McBride said.
By the time the candidates took the floor at 11 a.m., Maye Quade’s contractions were coming about every 20 minutes. When she approached the podium, her staff realized that one could arrive at any time.
She was about three-quarters of the way there, McBride says, before the contraction started.
In the video, she pauses before saying a line about building public infrastructure, then says “excuse me” and bends over, exhales and nods as the crowd cheers her on.
“We had someone ready to step in for her if she wasn’t able to recover. But she’s super strong, and she took the time to pause to go through the contraction and then straight back into her speech,” McBride said. .
The speeches were followed by a question-and-answer section. As Emmerich answered a question, Maye Quade had another contraction, but she was ready once the mic was passed to her.
“I think she was just in a place of focus and knew that was what her campaign had worked for for months and months. And was just willing to do whatever it took in that moment to to attend the convention for as long as she could,” she said.
Emmerich won the first round with 55% of the vote, with Maye Quade at 45%. At the time, McBride said Maye Quade was exhausted from getting through the day and needed to go to the hospital urgently. His team decided they didn’t want to continue without his present.
“We didn’t think it would be a fair process without Erin doing that advocacy work, building those relationships, standing up for herself, making decisions for herself. We just knew it wasn’t going to be a fair process. . And on top of that, she had to leave. It wasn’t an option for her at that time to stay there any longer,” McBride said.
McBride questioned why the Senate District leadership did not move the convention once it became clear that Maye Quade was in labor. The day’s events illustrated why, in her view, electoral processes should be as accessible as possible for women and persons with disabilities.
“It’s a really vulnerable thing to give birth, to be in labour, to suffer so much in front of a few hundred people…and I think it’s also underscored the importance of making sure our systems are inclusive and accessible to all women,” she said.