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Schiff drops out of mayoral race

Posted by: Maya Rao under Politics and government Updated: June 19, 2013 - 2:20 PM

By Eric Roper and Maya Rao

The race for mayor took an unexpected turn Wednesday when Gary Schiff, one of the first candidates to publicly mull a candidacy, dropped out.

Schiff's decision comes several days after he placed third on two ballots at the DFL endorsing convention. His campaign manager then resigned, telling the Star Tribune that he "did not see a path to victory."

He is the first candidate to drop out of the race to succeed outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak, but likely not the last.

A 12-year veteran of the council, Schiff threw his support Wednesday behind colleague Betsy Hodges, who is leading the DFL pack along with former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew. Andrew led on every ballot at Saturday's convention, but no one was endorsed.

Schiff hailed Hodges as a candidate "who shares my progressive vision for the future of our city," and ticked off their shared views on key city issues. Both disagreed with public financing of the Vikings stadium and Twins ballpark, for example, and Schiff noted that he and Hodges also oppose expanding the county trash incinerator and have campaigned to end "gaps" in equality for city residents

He said he didn't decide to drop out during the convention because "I don't think that environment is the right time to make these types of decisions." Instead, Schiff went to the north shore on Sunday, considered his options, and reached out to Hodges on Monday.

Hodges attended the press conference, which was held at a South Minneapolis Indian restaurant. Schiff's supporters, wearing Schiff shirts, held Hodges signs.

Candidates remaining in the race include Hodges, Andrew, former council president Jackie Cherryhomes, Council Member Don Samuels, attorney Cam Winton, special ed teacher Jim Thomas, former alderman Dan Cohen and software executive Stephanie Woodruff.

Two of Andrew's campaign workers attended the event, but declined to comment.

Schiff also made clear that he will not run for his ninth ward council seat again. Alondra Cano was endorsed by the DFL for the position and would be the first Mexican-American on the council if elected.

Because of ranked choice voting, which accounts for voters' second and third preferences in selecting a winner, there will be no primary. The general election is on Nov. 5.

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