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Minneapolis DFL fails to endorse a candidate for mayor

Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey finished first and second, respectively, in the endorsement process.
Sheila Nezhad, left, and Jacob Frey finished first and second, respectively, in the DFL's endorsement process.

Sheila Nezhad, left, and Jacob Frey finished first and second, respectively, in the DFL's endorsement process.

The Minneapolis DFL failed to endorse a candidate for mayor of Minneapolis ahead of the upcoming Nov. 2 election.

No mayoral candidate reached the 60% threshold necessary to get the DFL endorsement in the final round of ranked-choice voting on Thursday. 

Sheila Nezhad, a community organizer who works for Reclaim the Block, led in the final round of voting with 53%. That beat out incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey, who had 40% of the vote. More than 6% of delegates voted "no endorsement."

Nezhad celebrated, claiming victory over the incumbent mayor.

While Mayor Frey on Facebook said earning the most first-choice votes among delegates in on ranked-choice ballot shows his campaign has "broad support across all ages and neighborhoods in the city," adding the second-place finish after the final round of balloting mirrors what happened in 2017, when he was elected mayor a few months later.

Arguably the biggest issue for mayoral candidates this year is where they stand on policing in Minneapolis. Frey, one of the more centrist of the DFL candidates, has said he doesn't support defunding the Minneapolis Police Department, while Nezhad is running on a platform to transform public safety, "not empty promises of reform."

Kate Knuth, a mayoral candidate who finished third before being forced to drop out prior to the final round of voting, congratulated Nezhad in a series of tweets on Thursday, adding that the "DFL convention results are loud and clear. Minneapolis is demanding new leadership."

Knuth, a three-term DFL legislator, also supports transforming public safety, supporting a "whole-system approach," adding Minneapolis needs a mayor "who has a clear vision for our collective future."

Political analyst Larry Jacobs told WCCO no endorsement this year benefits Frey, noting it could mean DFL voters are swinging to the middle amid the increase in crime and ongoing protests.

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But the city is no stranger to not having a DFL-endorsed candidate for mayor. In fact, the Minneapolis DFL hasn't endorsed a candidate for mayor since 2009, the Star Tribune says, noting with no endorsement for mayor this year, candidates say they'll stay in the race. 

The City of Minneapolis uses a ranked-choice voting ballot in municipal elections. The election is Nov. 2.

The Minneapolis DFL said caucus turnout this week was more than double that of 2017, which was the last city election year, a news release says. More than 88% of DFL city delegates voted for endorsements. 

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