Jennifer Brooks
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Endorsement conventions, it turns out, are a colossal waste of everyone’s time and ticker tape.

I don’t want to hurt your feelings if you’re a fan of picking winners months and months and months before primary voters get a say. The conventions were supposed to whittle the field of candidates down to a chosen few. Yet we are neck-deep in would-be governors, lieutenant governors, state attorneys general and congresspeople. We have more DFL candidates now than we did a week ago.

So many 2018 hopefuls crowded in to file with the secretary of state on Tuesday, I’m still not sure who they all are or whether I might be one of them.

The primary ballot’s going to look like Where’s Waldo, if the page was nothing but Waldos and all the Waldos were running for office and wanted to talk to you about ethanol subsidies.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson lost out on the DFL endorsement and sidestepped into the governor’s race instead. So U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison sidestepped into the race for state attorney general. So half the city of Minneapolis stampeded for his seat.

Pop some popcorn — or ask Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon to bring you some — because Minnesota primary season is going to be amazing.

“He’s running. She’s running,” we used to joke, every time a Minnesota politician said something or didn’t say something, or strode purposefully across a cornfield with sleeves rolled up and a jacket tossed breezily across one shoulder. And then we laughed and laughed because that would be absurd if that many people actually ran.

But he’s running and she’s running and everybody’s running.

Former state Sen. Bob Lessard’s running for attorney general at age 87 as a Republican. DFL state Sen. Bobby Joe Champion started his congressional run in his running shoes and door-knocking clothes, carrying $400 in cash just to make sure his paperwork went through smoothly.

Susan Pendergast Sindt gathered 130 pages worth of signatures for her bid for the Fourth Congressional District on the Legalize Marijuana Now ticket.

Ellison announced his AG run Tuesday morning. By 5 p.m., half a dozen Democrats had jumped into the race to replace him in Congress.

“I am excited to go and be a voice for the voiceless at the Capitol,” said state Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American to serve in the Minnesota Legislature and one of the last Democrats to file in the Fifth. “I have proven myself to be someone who shows up, takes on the hard fight and delivers. I am ready to do the same thing for the people of Congressional District Five and for the people of our state.”

She left without taking questions.

I know we’re all supposed to hate politics these days, and by the time November rolls around, we absolutely will. But oh, how I love watching people jump into a race.

The long shots and the safe bets. The ones who could go on to great or infuriating things. The ones who are going to break their supporters’ hearts.

Here at the start of the race, they all want it so badly and they’re all trying so hard. I’m so proud of them, I’m almost willing to let them talk to me about ethanol.