MINNEAPOLIS- Incumbent City Councilwoman Alondra Cano won the Ward 9 DFL endorsement in controversial fashion Saturday amidst allegations of racial targeting and voter intimidation.
City council candidate Mohamed Farah claimed that his supporters had been racially targeted and intimidated by Cano’s supporters. Although Cano ended up winning the DFL endorsement, this was only after the other two candidates, Farah and former council member Gary Schiff, and their supporters walked out of the Ward 9 convention at South High School.
Going into the endorsement convention all three candidates filed official challenges with the Minneapolis DFL trying to designate delegates as not properly elected. All 33 challenged delegates were unanimously approved by the convention’s credentials committee.
Another rules struggle came in the form of adjournment, where convention officers tried to keep non-delegates off the floor. At one point a sergeant-at-arms brought in from Duluth even lost a tooth trying to break up a struggle.
The main point of conflict was a party rule which prevents adjournment before 3 p.m. or until at least four ballots have been taken. Some delegates interpreted that as a requirement that the meeting adjourn when either of these thresholds was reached, not simply that it could be adjourned once one of those things happened.
Farah took a great deal of issue with all the rules battles.
“[Cano] and her DFL insiders and influencers kept changing the rules for her in order for her to get the endorsement at any cause, even if it meant getting rid of people that didn’t agree with her,” Farah told Alpha News.
While Cano had the most votes throughout the process, she consistently fell short of breaking the 60 percent threshold needed to secure the DFL endorsement. In the late afternoon Cano’s supporters voted to suspend the rules and extend the time of adjournment. It was at this point that Farah proclaimed over a microphone, “This has been the worst time that I’ve ever witnessed within the DFL. If you are voting for me, we are walking out right now”
“For reasons I can’t understand, we find Trumpian tactics of intimidation unacceptable in the White House but passable when it’s coming from Council Member Cano and the DFL,” Farah wrote on Facebook Sunday, “They told our supporters that they didn’t deserve to have their voices heard. If I can roughly quote one Cano delegate, apparently they’ve ‘been oppressed for longer,’ and it is not time for the Somali-American community to take part in American life. The rest of Ward 9 demands leadership who value Minneapolis as a home for all people. I will fight the legitimacy of her DFL endorsement, and I will continue to fight for justice and a fair voice for all people in Ward 9.”
Farah elaborated on his statements of racial targeting to Alpha news, saying that, “Out of 101 people that Cano challenged prior to the convention, 90 of them were of East African descent who came out for the first time in Ward 9 in hopes to make changes in their neighborhood. Because they disagree with Cano, Cano tried to suppress their voters and sending a clear message to the people of Ward that if you disagree with her, you might as well move out of Ward 9 and find yourself a new City Council member.”
However, Cano doubts the legitimacy of the claims made by Farah, stating in an interview with Fox 9, “If there are questions about whether people signed in or showed up to the right precinct, those are fair questions to ask of anybody, regardless of your background.”
Alpha News attempted to contact Cano to elaborate on this position. She did not respond.
Alpha News reached out to Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL – Minneapolis) due to her endorsement of Cano and status as a prominent Somali-American advocate. Omar declined to comment on the Ward 9 incident.
“I plan to continue running. The most important endorsement that I can gain is the endorsement of the residents of Ward 9,” Farah said.