Four Minneapolis City Council members who supported the failed policing charter amendment have lost their seats, while another four incumbents who backed the policing overhaul were re-elected.
The city declared based on unofficial results that Phillipe Cunningham of the Fourth Ward lost to opponent LaTrisha Vetaw. Challenger Emily Koski was declared the unofficial winner over Jeremy Schroeder in the 11th Ward, and Steve Fletcher of the Third Ward lost to Michael Rainville. Green Party incumbent Cam Gordon of the Second Ward lost to Democratic Socialist Robin Wonsley Worlobah, both of whom supported the ballot measure.
Meanwhile, three others who had pledged to "end" the police department were re-elected, according to unofficial results. Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins of the Eighth Ward and Council Member Andrew Johnson won in the first round, and Jeremiah Ellison of the Fifth Ward was declared the winner in a tight race with multiple challengers. And Jamal Osman of the Sixth Ward, who supported the ballot measure, was re-elected to another term after winning his seat last summer in a crowded special election when his predecessor, Abdi Warsame, left the council.
Incumbent Kevin Reich was also defeated, losing to challenger Elliott Payne of the First Ward, who backed the policing overhaul, on the second round of tabulation.
All 13 Minneapolis council members were up for re-election Tuesday, with incumbents facing challengers from across the political spectrum. Candidates needed 50% plus one first-choice votes to win on election night. The city called 8 races. The remaining races that failed to produce a winner will go through additional rounds of tabulation as part of the ranked-choice voting process, starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
In two open seats, candidates who favored the policing overhaul were declared winners. Jason Chavez won the Ward 9 seat vacated by Alondra Cano, who chose not to run again. And Aisha Chughtai won in the 10th Ward, where Council President Lisa Bender decided not to run again.
New candidates fought uphill battles against City Hall veterans with many years to build name recognition. Two incumbents, Lisa Goodman of the Seventh Ward and Linea Palmisano of the 13th Ward, won with large leads over their challengers.
Incumbent Reich defeated
Council Member Kevin Reich, who was first elected in 2009 to represent northeast Minneapolis, lost a tight race to challenger Elliott Payne, a self-employed consultant. Reich, a former neighborhood activist, lost the DFL endorsement by a wide margin to Payne earlier this year. Payne would be the first Black man to fill the First Ward seat, he said. He ran as a strong proponent of the ballot measure to replace the police department with a public safety agency, a measure Reich opposed.
Gordon loses re-election bid to Wonsley Worlobah
Council Member Cam Gordon lost in a tight race with Democratic Socialist Robin Wonsley Worlobah and DFLer Yusra Arab, both of whom raised dramatically more money than Gordon. Gordon, who joined the City Council in 2006, has been the only Green Party member on the council and ran unopposed in 2017. Arab opposed the police charter amendment, unlike Gordon. She spent four years at City Hall as a council aide. Worlobah agreed with Gordon's position on all three charter amendments but said he was too slow to support progressive efforts such as rent control.
Rainville beats Fletcher
No candidate earned a majority of first-choice votes in the Third Ward, but challenger Michael Rainville was declared the winner over Council Member Steve Fletcher after the second round of tabulation. Fletcher, founding executive director of MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, was elected in 2017. He quickly assumed a leadership role among council members aiming to move resources from the police department, and has fought law enforcement surveillance technologies. Challengers Rainville and Merv Moorhead were both endorsed by Operation Safety Now, a group that opposes defunding the police. Hope Hennessey was also in the running.
Vetaw declared winner
Park Board Vice President LaTrisha Vetaw was declared the unofficial winner over first-term incumbent Phillipe Cunningham. She gathered 60.6% of Fourth Ward votes over Cunningham's 30.3%. Vetaw is a smoking cessation activist who works at NorthPoint Health and Wellness. She focused on constituent services on the Minneapolis Park Board, and hit Cunningham on his responsiveness to gun violence. As council member, Vetaw said she would support Police Chief Medaria Arradondo's efforts at reforming the culture of the police department and diversifying the force. She also vowed to boost Black businesses and homeownership on the North Side.
Ellison narrowly wins re-election
Council member Jeremiah Ellison received 32% of first-choice votes, not enough to score a win, but was declared the winner after the final round of tabulation. He faced a slate of challengers who hit him hard on his support for defunding police and his responsiveness to constituents. Ellison, the son of Attorney General Keith Ellison, had been one of the first council members to call for dismantling the police department after the murder of George Floyd. Runner-up Kristel Porter, a youth coach and executive director of MN Renewable Now, received 24.7% of the vote in the first round. Close behind was pastor Victor Martinez with 24.6%. Cathy Spann, Elijah Norris-Holliday, businessman Suleiman Isse and James Seymour also ran.
Osman wins re-election
Council Member Jamal Osman, who has represented the Sixth Ward for just over a year, faced another challenge from community consultant Abdirizak Bihi. Osman was declared the unofficial winner with 59.4% of first-round votes to Bihi's 39.4%. Both candidates support rent control and the creation of a new Department of Public Safety that would include mental health providers and a yet undetermined number of police officers. They differ on whether the mayor of Minneapolis should have more power to direct chartered department heads while limiting City Council members' authority to legislating as a body. Bihi wants a strong mayor system. Osman opposes it.
Goodman wins 7th term
Council Member Lisa Goodman, a moderate DFLer and the longest serving representative, won with about 62% of the vote in the first round. Goodman has been a staunch defender of the police budget in recent years and a voice for downtown businesses. Runner-up Nick Kor, a senior manager with the Coalition of Asian American Leaders, received 25.7%. His campaign came the closest to unseating the incumbent since she was first elected to represent in 1997. Entrepreneur Teqen Zéa-Aida received 7.4%, and Joanna Diaz, a safety and compliance specialist with a trucking company, got 4%.
Jenkins declared winner
DFL-endorsed Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, a poet who made history in 2017 as the first Black trans woman elected to office in the United States, easily won re-election against a sole challenger, Republican engineer Robert Sullentrop. "I'm just really excited to go back to City Hall," Jenkins said Tuesday night. "I'm grateful for the confidence my constituents showed in me during really unprecedented times with the global pandemic and the racial uprising. Although the ballot question creating a Department of Public Safety appeared to fail, Jenkins said the council can still "reimagine our system of public safety."
Newcomer Chavez wins open seat
DFL-endorsed newcomer Jason Chavez received 56.89% of the vote in a field of seven challengers to replace outgoing Council Member Alondra Cano. Chavez, 25, is a legislative aide for the Minnesota House of Representatives Workforce and Business Development Committee. He supported a new Department of Public Safety and the rent control measures on the ballot. Chavez said Tuesday he was "excited the Ninth Ward has been returned to the people." He said he would focus on reducing gun violence as well as police violence. Chavez said he is also passionate about the city providing affordable "housing for all."
Chughtai wins open seat
Council President Lisa Bender is stepping down after a tumultuous final term representing the ward that includes the Uptown and Whittier neighborhoods. Aisha Chughtai led in the first round, and was declared the winner in the final round. A strong supporter of defunding police, Chughtai, 24, works in the political department of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Also running were neighborhood activist Alicia Gibson; Katie Jones, policy manager at the Center for Energy and Environment; community health worker Ubah Nur; firefighter Chris Parsons; and Board of Estimate and Taxation Chair David Wheeler.
Koski defeats incumbent
Challenger Emily Koski is the unofficial winner with a wide lead over incumbent Jeremy Schroeder, after outraising him by more than three times. Koski works for a marketing consulting firm and is the daughter of former Mayor Al Hofstede. She ran on her opposition to the policing amendment, which Schroeder supported. Schroeder, who was elected in 2017, was one of the nine council members to join the pledge to "begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department." Koski also opposed rent control and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, which would give renters the first right of purchase on a building if it's for sale.
Johnson re-elected to seat
DFL-endorsed Council Member Andrew Johnson was declared the unofficial winner over his two challengers. Johnson, an IT professional and former Longfellow Community Council president, was elected in 2013. He was one of nine council members to take the "Defund Police" stage at Powderhorn Park last summer. Johnson said he didn't think the results were a referendum on the police question. He said it was bittersweet to lose colleagues to new council members but he's glad voters have decided the ballot questions, even if it didn't go the way he wanted. "There's a real sense of relief," he said. "There were these big weighty questions."
Palmisano defeats challengers
DFL-endorsed Council Member Linea Palmisano was re-elected to her seat representing south Minneapolis. The former product development manager from Linden Hills faced four challengers including Mike Norton, a small-business owner who was critical of her opposition to the policing amendment and the 2040 plan. Palmisano, who was first elected in 2013 and is chair of the Budget and Audit committees, ran on her experience on the council, though she has stood alone on issues like casting the lone vote against the 2040 plan. She also was part of a minority of incumbents opposed to defunding the police and in support of a strong mayor system.