Voters streamed in and out of the Brian Coyle Center this morning to cast ballots in a competitive House race that's likely to end either with Rep. Phyllis Kahn being elected to a 23rd term or Mohamud Noor becoming Minnesota’s first Somali-American state legislator.
A campaign worker for Kahn complained about a Noor election sign in neighboring Currie Park, which an election judge swiftly removed. A sergeant-at-arms stood posted outside to ensure that voters could move inside unimpeded by political volunteers.
A man walking out of the center in Cedar-Riverside said he voted for Noor because “as a Somali person who lives in this area, I feel neglected by her and I really want someone who can represent the true interests of this community.”
He gave his name only as Abdi, explaining, “This community is divided, and if you vote for Mohamud Noor or Phyllis Kahn you’re going to have enemies.”
The race has been highly contentious, featuring legal challenges, accusations of harassment and racism, and rifts among the DFL party and East African community. City Clerk Casey Carl said Monday that Minneapolis deployed four sergeants-at-arms in the 60B House district to ensure voters were not disturbed within a 100 feet of their polling station.
An airport taxi pulled up to drop off a handful of Kahn supporters.
Abdirizak Matan, the driver, said he was volunteering for Kahn because she had the experience to help the community. While the Noor campaign has already won hundreds of ballots through early voting, he noted that many Kahn’s supporters would be voting today.
“Her issues are very important to us,” said Matan.
Campaign staff for Kahn lingered in the parking lot of Brian Coyle, though they were not holding signs or approaching voters. Around the corner on 6th Street South near Cedar Avenue, a woman waved a Noor sign as she walked up and down the sidewalk and called out to passerby.