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12 Reasons Minneapolis' Mayoral Election Is More Interesting Than Yours

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35 candidates. Two Bobs, two Marks, two Christophers, two Johns, two Jameses. Captain Jack Sparrow and The Rock. Ranked choice voting. Welcome to elections in the City of Lakes

minneapolislogo10.gifOn Tuesday, Minneapolis voters will head to the polls for city elections including a high profile contest to replace outgoing three-term Democratic Mayor R.T. Rybak.

A record 35 candidates filed during the two-week window between July 30th and August 13th and will thus appear on the general election ballot November 5th.

Over the last several months, a handful of candidates have distinguished themselves as top-tier hopefuls, although several long-shot candidates have received substantial ink on shoe-string budgets.

So why is Minneapolis' mayoral race more interesting than your city's?

1. $20

It cost only $20 to file as a candidate in the mayoral race.

Twenty-four candidates paid their filing fee with cash. Eleven did so by check.


2. Six women are running for mayor.

DFLers Betsy Hodges (pictured), Jackie Cherryhomes, Stephanie Woodruff, and Alicia Bennett plus Cyd Gorman ('Police Reform') and Jaymie Kelly ('Stop Foreclosures Now') are all on the ballot.

However, the 29 male mayoral hopefuls still outnumber the female candidates by nearly a 5:1 margin.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, women are a minority in the City, accounting for 49.7 percent of the population.

Minneapolis has had one woman serve as mayor since its incorporation 146 years ago - Sharon Sayles Benton (1994-2001), who was defeated by Rybak running for a third term in 2001.


3. Underdogs.

In liberal Minneapolis there's always an underdog.

There are nine DFLers on the ballot (Jackie Cherryhomes, Jeff Wagner, Mark Andrew, Alicia Bennett, Mike Gould, Stephanie Woodruff, Don Samuels, Betsy Hodges, Bob Fine, and Gregg Iverson) and just one Republican (perennial candidate Ole Savior).

But the Minneapolis City Republicans Committee is recommending voters select Cam Winton (pictured) as their first choice.

Winton, a high profile candidate running a conservative campaign but identifying as an independent, was also listed as the third choice preference by the Libertarian Party of Minnesota and the Independence Party.

Of course, if voting for a Republican or GOP-endorsed candidate isn't for you, there are another two-dozen underdogs from which to choose.


4. Voting is as easy as 1, 2, 3...

For the second consecutive cycle, Minneapolis city elections will utilize a ranked choice voting system which eliminates the primary election in city races.

Minneapolis voters may - should they choose - rank up to three candidates in its mayoral and other races. In single-seat races, the winner must receive more than half of the votes cast for that office.

If no candidate has a majority after all 'first choice' votes are cast, then second-choice preferences from those candidates receiving the least amount of votes are reallocated. For more about how ranked choice voting works read here.


5. Want an absentee ballot? There's a menu for that.

Absentee ballot applications are available in six languages: Hmong, Spanish, Somali, Russian, Vietnamese, and English.


6. Captain Jack Sparrow.

Yes. Captain Jack Sparrow.


7. Pirates.

There is a candidate from the Pirate Party...and that candidate is not Captain Jack Sparrow.

That candidate is Kurtis Hanna, a food service wait staff employee and window cleaner.

Hanna is campaigning against "Cannabis prohibition, surveillance & fascism" and for "Personal privacy, freedom & the US Republic."


8. The Rock.

Don't like Captain Jack Sparrow or Pirates? "The Rock" will also be on the ballot.

That would be the nickname of Metro Transit supervisor Abdul Rahaman aka "THE ROCK."

Rahaman believes Minneapolis residents are "negatively affected" by fluoride in the water because it "makes them slower" and that they "don't think as well."


9. Christopher who?

With 35 candidates on the ballot, it's bound to happen.

There are two Christophers running...and they are both Libertarians.

So don't confuse Christopher Robin Zimmerman with Christopher Clark (pictured).

Clark is the Christopher endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Minnesota - receiving its 'first choice' ranking.


10. Same name game, addendum.

There are also two Bobs on the ballot (DFLer Bob Fine and frequent candidate Bob Carney)...as well as two Marks (top-tier DFLer Mark Andrew and Mark Anderson)...and two Johns (John Wilson and John Hartwig)...and two Jameses (James Stroud and James Everett).



11. That guy.

And yes, the "nearly naked, Wake the F@#k up!" candidate you heard about is one of the 35 running in the Minneapolis mayoral race.

His name is Jeff Wagner and he's a DFLer.


12. To sum up, that's 35 candidates. Thirty-five.

No primary? No problem.

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Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

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Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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