Minneapolis mayoral victor Betsy Hodges’ main rival during the closely fought campaign said this week that she deserved credit for her tenacity and that she won “fair and square.”
Mark Andrew, who finished in second place, acknowledged in an interview that he had not positioned himself properly.
He said others defined his campaign as that of labor or the establishment, though he built a broader coalition that included business and community members.
“That hurt us,” said Andrew. “We should have been able to define ourselves. I did not succeed in making that distinction between me and the other candidates. … Everyone knew we were running a lead and [Hodges] was right behind us. She deserves a lot of credit for hanging in there with her tenacity and perseverance.”
He said the race was fluid up until the day before the election “and she peaked at the right time.”
City DFL Party Chairman Dan McConnell said Andrew — whom he supported — would have won had he secured party endorsement at the June convention. Hodges’ supporters prevented that by exiting en masse, leaving the event without a quorum.
“We don’t have any issues with her,” said McConnell, adding that she positioned herself “as an underdog and I think that resonated with people.”
By the numbers
The biggest turnout on Tuesday night came from the 13th Ward, the affluent southwestern corner of the city now represented by Hodges. More than 10,000 people voted in that open City Council race.
The lowest turnout came from the Fifth Ward, the southern half of the North Side now represented by outgoing Council Member Don Samuels. Only about 3,600 people voted in that council race — also open — which was won by Blong Yang.
Waiting for votes
A campaign staffer for Hodges invited supporters to a “viewing party” at 4 p.m. the day after the election to join her in watching as results of the mayoral race came in.
There was just one problem: The ballot-counting at City Hall was taking way longer than promised.
And as people jostled from wall to wall at 612 Brew, the presumed winner was nowhere to be seen. Her whereabouts were a mystery; one supporter even cracked that she was in a top-secret bunker. As the hours wore on, the crowd thinned.
Finally, campaign manager Andy O’Leary took the podium to address restless onlookers.
The good news, he joked, was that election workers had finished counting votes for the 31st candidate (working their way down from 35) and that Hodges had picked up five votes.
Hodges called his cellphone while he was speaking, and he put it aside, saying, “We’ll hold that for a second.”
“Whoa!” countered some supporters.
“It happens,” said O’Leary.
He assured everyone that Hodges was coming and that if they were hungry, they could go to the food truck outside or somewhere else.
“But we have to make sure there’s not a dog, a bird and a cat here — if you leave, come back, O’Leary said.”
Hodges arrived two hours later.