Noor, Kahn go door to door to make their final pitch

  • Article by: MAYA RAO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2014 - 10:00 PM

The Minneapolis legislative candidates are making late pitches to voters one at a time.

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In this July 17, 2014, photo, Mohamud Noor hands out his campaign literature in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press - Ap

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1:45 p.m., Wednesday.

There’s a sign for state Rep. Phyllis Kahn on the lawn on this quiet Seward street, but her political challenger pays it no mind.

“Hi there. My name is Mohamud Noor,” he said, walking right up to the voter sitting outside.

“Yes, I recognize your face,” Maggie Zoncki said brightly.

She is torn. She likes Kahn, a 42-year veteran DFLer in the state House. But she is interested in Noor’s insurgent candidacy, too.

“She’s a really nice woman, and I love what she’s done, but I also believe in changing, and 42 years is a long time,” Zoncki said.

She told Noor she will decide by Tuesday.

Noor passed more than a half-dozen campaign signs for Kahn. “The signs don’t vote, it’s the residents who are going be voting,” he said.

Noor hopes these face-to-face pitches pay off at the polls Tuesday, when DFL primary voters will decide which of the two advance to the general election in one of the safest Democratic districts in the state.

Already, the House race has garnered statewide attention and carved divisions among Democrats.

For now, Noor and two campaign aides walk up and down residential streets off East Franklin hoping to catch someone, anyone, who is home. It is part of their final push to persuade voters to choose the unknown over the known.

Noor was appointed to the school board in January and heads the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. He announced his candidacy months after Kahn had aided Abdi Warsame’s successful bid to be elected as the first Somali-American on the City Council.

People tell him to wait for his turn, said Noor, who would work to improve early childhood education and close the racial “opportunity gap” if elected.

“So why do we have elections? Why don’t we just wait for people until [it’s] their time?” he asked.

Just across the river, four hours later, Kahn stands on a sidewalk in Prospect Park answering questions from a news reporter from Fox 9 News.

Was Noor an opportunist?

She said that he’s already run for various offices — school board, state Senate — and “I’ve only run for one thing in my life. … I don’t give up things that I’ve done just to do something else.”

When the TV reporter tells her how interesting it has been to watch her in the Legislature, she said, “Just think how boring it would be if I wasn’t there!”

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  • At a fundraiser held at Wilde Roast in Minneapolis, school board member Mohamud Noor, who is challenging State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, chatted with supporters. Noor, a computer scientist impressed Melissa Hysing and Mike Pfarr with knowledge of the issues plaguing MnSure.]richard.tsong-taatarii/rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com

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