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

Schiff's decision came 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."

Schiff, 41, is the first candidate to drop out of the crowded race to succeed outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak.

The 12-year council veteran threw his support behind colleague Betsy Hodges, 43, who is leading the DFL pack along with former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew, 62. Andrew led on every ballot at Saturday's convention, even though no one was endorsed.

Schiff said he would be campaigning for Hodges and hailed her as a candidate "who shares my progressive vision for the future of our city." He mentioned some of their shared views, such as opposing public financing of the Vikings stadium and Twins ballpark, and their mutual disagreement of proposed expansion of the county trash incinerator. Like Schiff, Hodges has also championed greater equality for city residents and suggested a reexamination of the city's regulatory code. She said Wednesday that she would be open to looking into another key part of his campaign platform, which called for contractors who do business with the city to hire city residents.

Schiff went to the North Shore with friends on Sunday to consider his options and contacted Hodges on Monday.

She stood near him at the news conference, which was held at the Gandhi Mahal restaurant in south Minneapolis. Schiff's supporters, wearing T-shirts bearing his name, held Hodges signs.

Candidates still in the race include Hodges, Andrew, former council president Jackie Cherryhomes, Council Member Don Samuels, wind energy attorney Cam Winton, special education teacher Jim Thomas, former alderman Dan Cohen and software executive Stephanie Woodruff. Because of ranked-choice voting, which accounts for voters' second and third preferences in selecting a winner, there is no primary. The general election will be held on Nov. 5.

Schiff also made it clear that he will not run for his Ninth Ward council seat again. Alondra Cano, who won the DFL endorsement for the position in May, would be the first Mexican-American on the council if elected. • 612-673-1732 • 612-673-4210