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DFL Minneapolis mayoral candidates debate

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Minneapolis voters got a good look at DFL candidates for mayor as five vying for the job took the stage for their first debate Wednesday. MPR called the race "the city's most hotly contested mayoral race in a generation."

The contenders at the event at the University of Minnesota, which fell less than three weeks before candidates will compete at the city’s DFL caucuses, included three current members of the Minneapolis City Council (Gary Schiff, Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels), former Council President Jackie Cherryhomes and former Chairman of Hennepin County Board Mark Andrew.

The candidates hope to fill the shoes of popular outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak. They covered some big topics, including taxes, public safety and stadium funding.

Because the candidates are courting the party for an endorsement in April, they share some similar stances. But a few sharp contrasts could be drawn, including some differences of opinion on the city’s $309 million subsidy of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, the Star Tribune reported. Hodges and Schiff voted against funneling city sales tax revenues to the project, but Samuels voted for it, the newspaper noted.

Schiff said the city's share of the cost of the new Vikings stadium should be renegotiated if the state financing plan is overhauled next year, MPR reported.

The Daily Planet has a Q and A feature in which the candidates outline some of their top priorities.

MPR reported that one candidate, Cam Winton, watched the debate from the audience. He's been active in Republican politics but never run for office.

The League of Women Voters will host the next debate April 3 in south Minneapolis, Minnesota Daily noted.

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