Updated at 10:22 a.m. on Aug. 22

The use of ranked choice voting in this year's competitive mayoral election is likely to create some interesting -- and strategic -- candidate alliances before November 5.

So now that the mayoral field is set at 35 people, MPLS asked some of the most serious candidates: Who are your second and third choices? 

Few were ready to give a firm response, though DFLer Stephanie Woodruff and independent Cam Winton offered some praise of their fellow candidates (Don Samuels was among both of their favorites).

Jeanne Massey of FairVote Minnesota doesn't fault candidates for not answering at this point in the race, but expects it will only become a more common question "now that the field is more defined and people are curious where those alliances are building.” 

"If candidates are asking voters for their second and third choices, why can’t I ask the candidate?” said Massey, adding that it shows the "more civil" and "less negative" campaigning that ranked choice voting promotes.

Here are the e-mail responses we received:

Cam Winton:
"I’m still weighing my choices but I admire Don Samuels’ bold leadership on education reform, Betsy Hodges’ tenacity on pension reform, and Stephanie Woodruff’s fiscally-responsible, socially-inclusive approach." Winton later said these are in no particular order.

Stephanie Woodruff:
"#1 - Me
#2 - Don Samuels
#3 - undecided yet...since campaigns matter, as a citizen, I'm still evaluating and will determine (if any), will earn my third choice."

Betsy Hodges:
"At this point, what I know is how I will be judging candidates in order to make my second choice. I will be looking for a candidate who either partnered with Mayor Rybak and me to keep our city great, or who has a vision to make it greater that includes making our children a priority and eliminating the gaps between white people and people of color so that everyone in Minneapolis can share in our achievements."

Mark Andrew:
"It's an honor to be running against so many qualified candidates, and in the coming months I look forward to hearing from my fellow candidates how they will best move Minneapolis forward. I haven't made up my mind yet as to who my second and third choice candidates will be, but they will be candidates who share my values and vision for Minneapolis."

Don Samuels:
"There are a number of good candidates running for mayor, including both old friend[s] and new faces. Like most voters, I’m still learning where all of the candidates stand on the issues that are most important, and who else could be the right successor to Mayor Rybak.”

Jackie Cherryhomes:
"Like most Minneapolis voters I have not yet decided on my 2nd and 3rd choices. While I have participated in dozens of forums and debates, I still have questions about which of my colleagues in the race will be the best choice. Now that the field of 34 candidates is set, I am looking forward to hearing what some of the other people in the race have to say before making a decision."

Doug Mann:
"I do not plan to cast a second and third choice ballot at this time."

Bob Fine:
Says he is undecided about his second and third choices.

Dan Cohen:
"You must be kidding. Tell us the names of the Wayzata Partners, the people who own your newspaper, and I'll tell you who I'm going to vote for."


MPLS provided Cohen with a link to the Wayzata Partners website, which lists the partners. Cohen responded thusly:

"1) Me
2) Betsy Hodges
3) Gary Schiff

Even though Schiff isn't running, I had contributed to his campaign earlier. It's kind of a symbolic vote."