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“There may be a little bit more of a culture in Minneapolis of expecting or tolerating controversy. St. Paul is more of a consensus city, and that has often discouraged people from running,” he said.
The last competitive mayoral race in St. Paul, in 2001, featured two strong DFLers from different wings of the party. In that election, progressive Jay Benanav lost to centrist Randy Kelly by 403 votes.
The races since, both won by Coleman, either were dominated by issues outside the city — Kelly’s support for President George W. Bush, which doomed his chances — or offered a non-DFL opponent without a large support base.
Tim Holden, a landlord and businessman, has been the most prominent of Coleman’s challengers this year. Holden, whose campaign is run out of a University Avenue building that he leases to the Love Doctor sex shop, is running as an independent to protest what he calls Coleman’s indifference to small business and his handling of the ballpark project.
Holden set up a campaign booth at the State Fair, where he promised he would fight for livable wage jobs, put an end to subsidized development and reduce crime.
The other two challengers are Sharon Anderson, a retired Republican who has been running for various offices for years, and Kurt Dornfeld, a city street maintenance worker.
Anderson said she’s running not to win but to expose corruption in city government and downsize bureaucracy. Her $500 filing fee came out of her cremation fund, she said, “but I felt I had to do this … maybe I can pull enough votes from Coleman to elect Tim Holden.”
For St. Paul, novel candidates are not new. The last St. Paul mayor before Coleman to seek a third term, George Latimer in 1980, was opposed by a taxi driver with no phone or permanent address and whose main issue was population control.
“Copulate, but do not populate” was his campaign slogan.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035