Abdi Warsame won the DFL endorsement Saturday in his bid for re-election to the Minneapolis City Council in a convention dominated by his supporters at Northeast Middle School.
Warsame’s endorsement brought a contentious chapter in the 2017 campaign to a close. The DFL had hired security guards and brought out a contingent of party officials, after a heavily-attended caucus, a series of complaints from Warsame’s competitors, a struggle to find a workable location for the event and repeated efforts to cancel it.
But a day before the convention, Warsame’s chief competitor, Mohamud Noor, announced he and his supporters would not participate in the convention, rendering moot any fears of strife. Noor did not attend Saturday.
“This race means the vindication of what we’ve done over the last years,” Warsame said. “Yes, democracy is messy, yes, the system broke down, but that is not our fault.”
In an impassioned stump speech, Warsame said he was raised in England by a single mother and grew up poor.
“But poverty is not our destiny and we do not want our children to inherit poverty. That’s why we need to work hard to make sure we create an equitable Minneapolis,” he said. “I humbly ask for your support. And I want your support today and in November.”
A little after 1 p.m., a crowd of supporters wearing neon shirts voted overwhelmingly by paper ballot to endorse Warsame over Noor and another challenger, Tiffini Flynn Forslund. Warsame won 95 percent of the vote, Noor won 4 percent, and 1 percent of delegates chose to endorse nobody.
It was the last of the endorsing conventions for City Council in Minneapolis. Minneapolis DFL chair Dan McConnell ran the meeting with the help of a Somali translator. With Noor absent, what could have taken all day took under four hours, but the language barrier still caused hiccups.
Several mayoral candidates — Mayor Betsy Hodges, Tom Hoch, state Rep. Ray Dehn, Captain Jack Sparrow, Aswar Rahman and Council Member Jacob Frey — spoke to the crowd. The citywide convention where DFL delegates will try to endorse a candidate for mayor, is July 8. City elections are in November.