After DFL fundraiser Sam Kaplan told a handful of people to write big checks for Jacob Frey’s bid for the City Council’s Third Ward seat, he walked up to the candidate and put his hand on his cheek.

“You have to win,” Kaplan said, “or I’m really in big trouble.”

Frey relayed the story Thursday evening at a fundraiser hosted by Kaplan and his wife, Sylvia.

The couple’s endorsement, he said later, means a lot.

“They have a lot of clout; if they choose somebody there’s a legitimacy behind it,” said Frey. And, he added, “Politics aside, they’re very nice.”

The fundraiser was co-hosted with Council Member Lisa Goodman, who along with four other council members has endorsed Frey over Council Member Diane Hofstede in one of the city’s most competitive races this fall. Frey said more council members endorsements are to come.

The Kaplans have also fundraised for mayoral candidate Mark Andrew this year.

“He’s a very, very able lawyer and he is a professional long-distance runner,” Sam Kaplan told the crowd. “I don’t know if he needs the lawyering background anymore, but he needs the stamina that comes with being a runner.”

In a speech, Frey said he had fallen in love with a city whose residents are engaged in activism.

“People here believe that they can make a difference …” said Frey, 32. “ I grew up in northern Virginia. and those people there feel that if your father or mother isn’t a Congressperson or CEO or some sort of lobbyist, what impact can you have? And that’s not the case here.”

He said that the ward, now populated with yuppies and empty nesters, must retain the young families with children who are moving to the suburbs, be friendly to pedestrians, and have green space.

Frey also said the city would not rise unless leaders  looked out for north Minneapolis, too – closing the achievement gap between minorities and whites, focusing on sex education, and working more closely with pregnant women.