A recount of ballots in the Sixth Ward City Council election in Minneapolis will take place Tuesday, as the heated contest for the south Minneapolis council seat drags on.
Council Member Abdi Warsame defeated Mohamud Noor by 239 votes on election night, but disputes between Warsame and Noor and their allies have simmered for months, and Noor formally requested what the city considers a “discretionary” recount.
Noor paid a $7,000 deposit on Wednesday, triggering the recount, which will be open to the public at 9 a.m. at the Early Vote Center, 217 S. 3rd St.
“We want to get everything counted and we want to make sure everything is done right,” Noor said. “The public has the right to know who really won the election.”
Warsame, meanwhile, said he is frustrated with the DFL Party for looking on passively as six state legislators endorsed Noor in the final days before the election. Warsame won the DFL endorsement in the spring.
DFL state Reps. Ilhan Omar, Karen Clark, Raymond Dehn and Jim Davnie and state Sens. Scott Dibble and Patricia Torres Ray wrote a letter asking Sixth Ward voters to support Noor. The legislators, whose districts all include portions of Minneapolis, said Warsame was too friendly with business interests and “against marriage equality,” citing a speech in which he said he believed marriage is between a man and a woman.
Warsame said it was “white liberal Islamophobia from veteran state legislators” who were upset with him for supporting Mayor-elect Jacob Frey in the election.
Omar was a prominent supporter of Dehn’s campaign for mayor, and Dibble supported incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges.
Clark said the endorsement of Warsame was different from the usual endorsement because Noor withdrew, saying he feared violence would break out at the ward convention. Also, Noor asked for her endorsement and Warsame did not.
“That was not the purpose at all, to go against an endorsed candidate,” Clark said. “It was to support a good candidate who has worked on numerous things for the community.”
The other five legislators did not respond to requests for comment.
“What does it mean to be an endorsed candidate? If you’re a white, liberal, progressive candidate, does it weigh more than if you’re a Somali endorsed candidate?” Warsame said. “I was a second-class endorsee.”
The decision to publicly campaign against an endorsed candidate is “frowned upon,” said Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin.
“I’m highly disappointed in any endorsed elected official that would come out and work against the DFL endorsement,” Martin said. “We have an expectation that anyone who carries the DFL endorsement will also support other candidates who carry the party’s endorsement.”
But the state DFL can do nothing about it, Martin said. If Warsame’s campaign wants to file a challenge with each of the legislators’ district DFL central committees, he may, and they have the power to strip the legislators of their endorsements.
Warsame said he doesn’t plan to file a challenge.
“How likely is it they’re going to do anything?” Warsame said. “I’m not going to waste my time.”
Warsame does not deny that he said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but insists that is his personal, religious belief and it does not affect his policy decisions.
“I’m a Muslim. I don’t drink, but I’m on the Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee that approves all liquor licenses. I don’t try to stop people from selling pork in the city,” he said. “We live in a secular society, we have secular law and that secular law protects everybody and I’ve been supportive of those protections.”