Minneapolis council member takes chewed gum from her mouth, gives it to her opponent

Teqen Zéa-Aida says he was "totally shocked" when he was given the chewed gum.

Lisa Goodman has represented Ward 7 on the Minneapolis City Council for 20 years now – that includes high-traffic areas of downtown, and neighborhoods such as Loring Park, Cedar-Isles-Dean and Bryn-Mawr.

On Wednesday night, she took chewed gum from her mouth and dropped it in the hand of one of her challengers at a community meeting.

The bizarre incident (even the New York Post thought it was weird enough to pick up) was first publicized by Wedge LIVE!, a hyper-local Minneapolis news site.

The Wedge LIVE! reporter was at a Ward 7 candidate forum being held at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, where Goodman and her opponents were set to talk about affordable housing.

One of those opponents? Teqen Zéa-Aida, an adoptee who was born in Colombia, is now a local artist and small business owner, and identifies as LGBTQ. He's running against Goodman to represent Ward 7.

And had her chewed gum plopped into his hand.

Wedge LIVE! has photos of it happening (and also put together a video with the images).

"Right before we started [Goodman] asked if I would take her gum," Zéa-Aida wrote on Facebook late Tuesday. "Me, thinking I had unkind breath said yes. She literally took gum out of her mouth and put it in my hand to which I (totally shocked) asked, what am I supposed to do with this?"

Goodman says she was anxious, it was a joke

Katie Drahos, who says she manages Zéa-Adia's campaign, wrote about the gum spitting on Facebook afterward, saying they've only shown respect for Goodman – and "for her to respond by basically spitting in Teqens [sic] hands is very telling of ones character."

Goodman responded in a Facebook reply, saying she is "truly sorry" that Zéa-Adia "felt I disrespected him."

"Like him I was anxious before the forum and had to get ride [sic] of my gum," she said, explaining she didn't know where to put it. So she "asked him in a humorous manner if he would take it. I had no idea he felt uncomfortable with my joke and it was not meant in any nasty or disrespectful way."

Goodman also wrote she would "of course apologize personally," adding she's sorry if her attempt to be funny "wasn't viewed that way by Teqen, who I hold in high regard."

The whole thing has Zéa-Adia and his campaign "even more committed to seeing change in ward 7 and across Minneapolis," he wrote.

Goodman, Zéa-Adia and two other candidates for Ward 7 (Janne Flisrand and Joe Kovacs) will be on the ballot for neighborhood voters on Nov. 7.

Yes, there's another election this year. There are no statewide or U.S. races – it's all city officers, school board members, and other local positions. You can check out the ballot for where you live by going here.

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