After 12 hours, 5 rounds of voting, no answer in high-profile MN House race


Minneapolis voters turned to Twitter to voice their frustrations over a state representative race between two high-profile candidates –the longest-serving Minnesota legislator and a challenger that could become the first Somali-American woman elected to state office.

Delegates at a DFL convention in House District 60B – which includes Minneapolis' Cedar Riverside and the Seward neighborhoods – could not choose Saturday between nominating the long-tenured Phyllis Kahn or newcomer Ilhan Omar (more on each of them below).

The convention at Northeast Middle School lasted 12 hours, with 250 delegates casting ballots a total of five times, said the Star Tribune.

None of the candidates were able to capture 60 percent of the necessary votes to secure the nomination; therefore, the nominee will be decided by voters at a primary in August.

The Seward and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods in House District 60B are known for their Somali communities. Nicollet Island, Prospect Park, Marcy Holmes as well as the University of Minnesota also fall within the district's boundaries. Click here to see a map.

The candidates

Phyllis Kahn has been the representative for District 60B for over 40 years. Kahn's legislative interests include pension and investment policy, science and technology, information policy, natural resources and women's rights, says her bio. She is known for her progressive feminism in state politics, according to FOX 9.

Ilhan Omar is proving to be a challenging opponent, finishing with 55 percent of the vote to Kahn's 33 percent in the final casting Saturday, KARE 11 said.

The two candidates continued to go back and forth on Twitter Sunday – here's just one sample:

At the age of 8, Omar fled from Somalia with her family, spent 4 years in a Kenyan refugee camp, and then immigrated to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997, according to her bio. She is currently the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women.

“My public service and my experiences as an immigrant woman of color have taught me how important it is to include all voices in our democracy,” Omar told MinnPost.

But Kahn claims that her legislative record reflects her support for all people. She said she secured funding for Somali youth athletics and to help curb the the recruitment of Somali teens into terrorist groups, reported MinnPost.

“People have this vision that it’s me against the Somali community, but I have a good third of the Somali community working on my side, maybe more now," Kahn said.

A third candidate, Mohamud Noor, was forced to drop out Saturday after he didn't receive the minimum 20 percent of the vote on the second ballot, according to KARE 11.

According to the Star Tribune, all three candidates are supportive of a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, improving opportunities for people of color and investing in education.

It was a long day

The candidates' supporters were frustrated on Saturday as they spent hours waiting for the delegates to select a nominee.

Many turned to Twitter to voice their frustrations.

But some were able to stay in good spirits:

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