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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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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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