MINNEAPOLIS – Larger than expected crowds flooded DFL caucus sites Tuesday night in the beginnings of this year’s Minneapolis city elections as some candidates announced their intentions to ignore the process entirely.
Mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds in a joint statement with City Council candidate Raeisha Williams questioned the legitimacy of the endorsement process and the DFL in general in a Facebook statement Tuesday. Williams is one of three candidates, including U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s son Jeremiah, challenging Council Member Blong Yang for the Fifth Ward’s seat.
Levy-Pounds pledged to take her campaign for mayor all the way through November regardless of any potential DFL endorsement.
“Women of color especially, are often discouraged and sometimes even blocked from pursuing political office by DFL leaders and insiders. The DFL endorsement process reinforces the notion of political exclusivity,” Levy-Pounds wrote, “As a true progressive, I have made a conscious decision to no longer participate in an endorsement process that limits access to electoral power and often results in inequitable outcomes.”
Levy-Pounds’ campaign platform emphasizes a $15 an hour minimum wage and showcases her background in the Black Lives Matter movement. Incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges has pivoted to adopting a $15 an hour minimum wage stance as Levy-Pounds and her fellow challengers, Council Member Jacob Frey and State Rep. Raymond Dehn, have championed the wage increase as part of their campaigns.
Independent filmmaker Aswar Rahman has positioned himself as a more pro-small business mayoral candidate. According to his campaign site, Rahman wants to create a climate where businesses are capable of voluntarily instituting a $15 an hour minimum wage, so as to, “ensure that Minneapolis doesn’t create a disadvantage for itself in the process of raising wages.”
Hodges, Frey, and Dehn spent Tuesday stumping in Ninth Ward, reports the Star Tribune.
The heavily Somali Sixth Ward’s caucus was rather a mess due to much larger than expected attendance reports the Star Tribune. More than 400 people attempted to fit into a small gymnasium at the Brian Coyle Community Center. Fire officials had to shut down the event, which was relocated outside to Currie Park. Mohamud Noor is challenging incumbent City Council Member Abdi Warsame for the Sixth Ward’s spot.