It is now Saturday, May 20, 2023 and what seems to be the main highlight of the day is the view of the Minneapolis City skyline, including City Hall, as seen from the back of the U.S. District Court. This is because all 13 Minneapolis City Council seats will be on the ballot in November’s city elections.
But here’s the catch, the formal candidate filing period doesn’t actually start until Aug. 1, and yet, many candidates have already started (and ended) their campaigns! So far, the main focus of their efforts has been seeking the endorsement of the city’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party – an important seal of approval in this overwhelmingly Democratic city.
Legally speaking, endorsements mean absolutely nothing! The city’s ranked-choice voting elections are technically nonpartisan, and candidates need not seek or abide by any party endorsements to appear on the ballot.
Despite all of this, here’s where things stood as of May 19:
In the first ward, incumbent Council Member Elliot Payne has already secured the DFL endorsement – well, good for him!
Oh boy – let’s talk about the second ward! Their convention was held in April with no endorsement made, which is probably a good thing for incumbent Council Member Robin Wonsley who is running as an independent.
In the third ward, incumbent Council Member Michael Rainville secured the endorsement in April over Conrad Zbikowski who said he would abide by the endorsement and end his campaign. Although, candidate Marcus Mills apparently has other plans and said he’ll keep on keeping on!
In the fourth ward, incumbent Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw has already secured the endorsement. Yawn.
The Ward 5 convention was canceled in early May amid accusations of impropriety – and let’s just say it doesn’t look like there will be a DFL endorsement for this race. Incumbent Council Member Jeremiah Ellison is being challenged by Victor Martinez and the whole situation has been very chaotic with a number of Martinez’ delegates being thrown out due to his failure to produce paperwork to support his online-registered delegates. Both candidates requested the convention be canceled. So, who knows what’s happening here?
We finally get to the sixth ward, and let us tell you, this virtual convention will be filled with DRAMA! The convention was even recessed for lack of a Somali interpreter, with the intent to reconvene on June 3. Incumbent City Council Member Jamal Osman is facing several challengers, and allegations of shenanigans are swirling around candidate Kayseh Magan about candidate Tiger Worku. Magan has accused Worku of essentially falsely signing up delegates, including statements by some of Worku’s claimed delegates that they’re Republicans and never signed up for anything DFL-related. Worku has denied the allegation, but this matter was expected to be litigated during the convention. Candidate Abdirizak Bihi dropped out of the race earlier this month, adding to the confusion and uncertainty.
The Ward 7 convention, scheduled to be held virtually Sunday, is one of two races for a vacant seat on the City Council. Lisa Goodman, who has served 25 years on the council, isn’t seeking re-election. Candidates seeking the DFL endorsement have included Katie Cashman, Scott Graham, and Kenneth Foxworth. Who knows what’ll happen next?
The Ward 8 convention has been the talk of the town. City Council President Andrea Jenkins is facing a stiff challenge from Soren Stevenson, who gained prominence after losing an eye to police-fired projectiles while protesting the murder of George Floyd. Jenkins is generally aligned with the relatively moderate narrow majority on the City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey, while Stevenson, who has been endorsed by the Twin Cities chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, is further left. As of early Saturday afternoon, the convention had not reached a decision on an endorsement – will they ever reach one?!
The ninth ward is not causing much commotion as incumbent Council Member Jason Chavez secured the DFL endorsement back in April.
The May 13 convention of the tenth ward infamously turned into chaos when supporters of challenger Nasri Warsame stormed the stage as incumbent Aisha Chughtai was preparing to speak. The convention remains in recess with no decision made on the next step – not surprising with what’s been going on! However, many DFL leaders are hoping it will reconvene in some fashion. Who knows what’ll happen when it does?
In the eleventh ward, incumbent City Council Member Emily Koski is seeking the DFL endorsement in a convention scheduled to be held virtually Sunday. More drama?
In the twelfth ward, Aurin Chowdhury has already secured the DFL endorsement in April over several candidates vying for the open seat held by Council Member Andrew Johnson, who is not seeking re-election. At least two of Chowdhury’s opponents, Luther Ranheim and Nancy Ford, have said they’re still running in the election – so there’s definitely some competition.
In the thirteenth ward, incumbent Linea Palmisano secured the DFL endorsement over challenger Kate Mortenson in April but Mortenson has made it clear that she’s not going to give up just yet.