Two years after backing longtime state Rep. Phyllis Kahn during her bruising re-election bid, Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame announced Thursday he would endorse her old opponent, Mohamud Noor.
Warsame said in a statement that Noor would help residents deal with the challenges of finding work, starting businesses, navigating complex bureaucracies and ending racial disparities, among other things.
“Residents tell me that he understands their challenges and is ready to use that firsthand knowledge to create targeted solutions that will positively impact them in direct ways,” he said.
The dynamics of Kahn’s recent legislative races in the Minneapolis DFL district have put the city’s sole Somali-American politician in a somewhat difficult position.
Kahn and her allies helped get Warsame elected in 2013, and he returned the favor when Noor mounted a formidable campaign against her the following year in his attempt to become the first legislator of East African descent. This year, Noor is running again, as is another Somali-American candidate, Ilhan Omar — a move that has further divided the East African community.
Kahn praised Warsame’s leadership on the City Council and said she still planned to work with him. She added that Warsame’s endorsement of Noor would hurt Omar more than her.
Omar was the front-runner at the DFL’s nominating convention, but fell short of the 60 percent of delegates needed to win party endorsement.
Warsame plans to speak Sunday evening at a Noor rally at the Brian Coyle Community Center.