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Continued: With 35 Mpls. mayoral candidates, it's tough to get your message out

  • Article by: MAYA RAO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 14, 2013 - 12:59 PM

The candidates were largely genteel when the forums started six months ago, hesitant to openly call out their competitors on stage. The main exception was Winton, who has questioned their lengthy government experience and raised doubts about how some opponents can pay for everything they say they’ll fund as mayor when they have voted for a new streetcar line and Vikings stadium.

Now, other mayoral contenders are quicker to criticize one another, and are drawing sharper distinctions.

Last month, Andrew slammed Hodges as having “the disease of small vision” for opposing a new hotel near the Convention Center, quickly prompting a fundraising e-mail from Hodges’ campaign saying that Andrew had tried to “hijack a policy forum to engage in a relentless series of baseless attacks.”

Candidates are also touting themselves as “the only” one talking about certain issues.

At a State Fair debate, Andrew said he was the only person who had publicly stated there is racism in the Police Department — prompting an attendee to call out, “That’s not true!”— though others have voiced concern about recent incidents in which officers used racial slurs.

Hodges then jumped in to say she had been saying for eight years that there’s racism in the department.

Samuels also claimed that he was the only candidate who has an education plan for minority children, though other candidates have come out with plans of their own and cited the achievement gap between white and minority children as a priority.

At the same event, Woodruff pushed back against Winton’s standard criticism of everyone’s government experience.

“I don’t know why Cam keeps putting me in this category that I’m a government official, because I’m not,” said Woodruff, pointing out that her post on the city’s audit committee position is unpaid and appointed.

Candidates are trying to explain such complicated issues in so short a time for their audiences that many ignored a command from a Minnesota Public Radio moderator recently to answer with just a “yes or no” to questions on whether they would have supported the Vikings stadium, whether the barriers to run for mayor should be higher, and whether they would raise property taxes. The moderator, Gary Eichten, frequently had to cut them off as they tried to launch into longer explanations.

“That’s a yes, right?... That’s a no ... We’re running out of time here,” he said.


Maya Rao • 612-673-4210

Twitter: @Mrao_Strib



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