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Star Tribune poll: no clear leader in Minneapolis mayor's race

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No clear favorite has emerged in the race for a new mayor for the state's largest city, and the Star Tribune has the latest polling numbers to prove it.

While there are 35 candidates running for the office, the newspaper asked 800 likely voters only about the eight candidates who have raised the most money. The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, shows current City Council Member Don Samuels and former council president Dan Cohen are in the lead with 16 percent among likely voters. The same number report they remain undecided.

They are polling ahead of two candidates who have raised the most money and collected the most political endorsements. Council Member Betsy Hodges had 14 percent and former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew had 10 percent.

The Andrew campaign, which leads in the amount of money raised, told the newspaper that they have their own numbers, conducted by polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

“We’re fairly confident that we do have the lead in this race,” said Joe Ellickson, a spokesman for Andrew's campaign.

There is no endorsed DFL candidate in the race, although Andrew has the most traditional political endorsements. He also had the highest favorability rating (30 percent), followed by Samuels (28 percent) then Hodges and foemr Council President Jackie Cherryhomes (tied at 25 percent). The newspaper suggests the outcome of the race is still up in the air. The use of ranked-choice voting, in which citizens select their first-, second-, and third-choice candidates, add another layer of unpredictability to calling the odds in the Nov. 5 election.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

On her blog on WCCO's website, reporter Esme Murphy answers her own question in a post that asks if the current race is "...the wackiest in MN history."

Meanwhile, a YouTube campaign ad for candidate and political newcomer Jeffrey Alan Wagner has gone viral. Reports about the ad, in which the candidate wades in the Mississippi in his underwear and vows to avoid strip clubs, have shown up in prominent publications and websites, including in the U.K's Daily Mail, Deadspin and on the website for ABC News, which called the ad "...probably the greatest — and strangest — political ad of the election cycle."

See the ad here.

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