IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Pregnant state senate candidate goes into labor during convention speech — and keeps going

Minnesota state senate candidate Erin Maye Quade went into labor during a speech — and she didn't skip a beat.
Erin Maye Quade
Erin Maye Quade, pictured at the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, last month, was giving a speech over the weekend when birth contractions hit: She paused to breathe through them, and then kept going. Steve Karnowski / AP

A pregnant state senate hopeful went into labor while giving a speech ... and she kept going.

Minnesota state senate candidate Erin Maye Quade was speaking at a local Democratic-Farmer-Labor convention on Saturday in the hopes of landing enough delegate endorsements over her opponent Justin Emmerich.

Quade, who according to her website was running as the first Black woman and the first out lesbian to serve in the Minnesota Senate, was campaigning in pain. Her labor started the morning of the convention, signaling the arrival of her first child. She asked convention leaders to change the endorsement process time to earlier in the day, to which they agreed. 

Quade’s labor pains persisted as the morning progressed. “She had a contraction every 15 to 30 minutes,” said Mitchell Walstad, Quade’s campaign manager, who spoke to TODAY Parents on her behalf. (She's a little busy these days.) “She would go into a private room each time, then back out to speak to delegates.”

A video posted to Twitter captured a portion of Quade’s speech. “So believe me when I tell you, this is our moment to build our future together,” she says in the footage. “To unlock the powerful, life-affirming, transformative kind of politics that means we can help achieve a safe … community, create economic opportunity and prosperity and safeguard our civil and human rights…excuse me.” 

Quade then pauses to lean forward during a contraction while the audience cheers.  

When Quade knew she needed medical attention, she made the decision to withdraw from the nomination procedure. “She realized she couldn’t meaningfully engage with delates and completely advocate for herself,” explains Walstad.

Quade and her wife Alyse welcomed their newborn daughter Harriet (nicknamed Hattie), on Sunday, according to an announcement on Alyse’s Instagram page. 

Quade has not suspended her campaign, Walstad clarifies. “Erin hasn’t decided whether she will continue running the primary,” he tells TODAY Parents. “It all depends on the support she has.”

The rights of working mothers are a priority for Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office: In 2018, two years after she was elected, she and husband Bryan Bowlsbey welcomed their second child, a daughter named Maile. Duckworth was also the first senator to bring her child to the Senate floor, a decision that changed a rule that banned babies from the premises.  

“Moms are real superheroes — juggling everything from work, to kids to home life and beyond,” Duckworth tells TODAY Parents in a statement in response to Quade's story. “We should be doing all we can to provide them with the support they deserve, like affordable childcare and universal paid family leave. Our nation is one of the wealthiest on the planet — there’s no reason we can’t do this. It’s time we give working parents the resources they need so no family has to choose between a paycheck and taking care of their loved ones.”

Related video: