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Ranked-choice voting “creates an atmosphere for a more positive campaign, because if you’re not their first choice, you need them to consider you for a second choice,” he said. “That means we really have to run on our ideas.”
Others hope that ranked-choice voting could loosen the DFL stronghold on city politics.
“I think that it gives independent candidates who are not backed by a major political party a chance to talk to voters directly and a chance to win,” said Ashwin Madia, who is the treasurer for Winton’s campaign. Madia was the DFL-endorsed candidate for Congress against U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen in 2008, when Winton served as his treasurer.
A national trend
Other major cities with mayor’s races this year are St. Paul, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles, among others.
Around the country, many campaigns are costing more and more, and are attracting involvement from ideologically driven interest groups, according to Don Borut, who recently retired as longtime executive director of the National League of Cities. He said that while local issues will define these campaigns, candidates in every city will have to talk about how to address continuing declines in federal aid.
In Minneapolis, campaigns have been kicking off formally in the last two months, but some have been laying the groundwork for much longer.
“I just got off the phone with a person who first got approached to support another candidate eight months ago,” Andrew said. “Because they’ve all been mysteriously aware that the mayor wasn’t running ... And I don’t have the luxury of having been able to organize for that long of a period of time.”
Receiving the party’s nod in June could be a huge boost to any of the campaigns.
But “this election has exactly the kind of recipe for a deadlocked convention,” said Melendez, who chaired the Minneapolis DFL when Rybak blocked the endorsement of incumbent Sharon Sayles Belton in 2001.
He said he has already given money to more than one candidate, though he supports Hodges.
“I think the view of most people is that more than one of these folks would make a good mayor.”
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Maya Rao • 612-673-4210