Minneapolis voters may be puzzled to see the name of a certain swashbuckling adventurer on the ballot when they go to the polls this Election Day. But don't let that name fool you: This Captain Jack Sparrow lives in Minneapolis and uses a Bluetooth earpiece.
Sparrow — his legal name — is one of 35 people who declared a candidacy for mayor by the close of the filing period Tuesday, a figure that surpasses any Minneapolis election in recent history, according to the city clerk's office.
In the past 28 years, only 2001 came remotely close in number of candidates — with a mere 22. Because Minneapolis uses ranked-choice voting, which eliminates the need for a primary, there will be no winnowing of the candidates before the Nov. 5 general election. Candidates can withdraw through Thursday afternoon, however.
The number of mayoral candidates, combined with competitive City Council races and some referendums, also means the city's ballot will likely be longer than the usual double-sided page (more than 70 candidates filed to run for City Council and Park Board). Multiple pages can prove challenging because voters sometimes misplace the extra pages.
The mayoral field would have been limited by a proposal to increase the filing fee from $20 to $500. The proposal, intended to dissuade frivolous candidates, was pulled by City Council member Cam Gordon, the author, after some expressed concerns about its timing so close to the election.
Jeanne Massey with Fair Vote Minnesota, which advocates for ranked choice voting, said the city needs to establish a threshold for candidacy to accommodate the absence of a primary. Rather than increasing the filing fee, she suggests that candidates be required to gather a certain number of signatures.
Among the mayoral candidates are Betsy Hodges, Mark Andrew, Don Samuels, Cam Winton, Jackie Cherryhomes, Dan Cohen, Bob Fine, Stephanie Woodruff and Doug Mann. The full list can be found at startribune.com/a2434.
As for Sparrow — the name he legally adopted after being arrested delivering petitions to U.S. Bank in 2012, dressed, of course, as the Johnny Depp character — his platform includes housing poor people in foreclosed homes, forming more cooperative businesses and legalizing prostitution.
Why dress like a pirate? "Pirates have a lot going for them in terms of being democratic, in terms of fairness, in terms of justice," he said.