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MRLF’s endorsed candidates win 10 of 13 Minneapolis city council seats

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 17, 2017

By Steve Share, Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — In the highest voter turnout in a municipal election since 1993, Minneapolis voters voted for change November 7 and picked Jacob Frey as the city’s new Mayor.

Voters re-elected eight of 11 Minneapolis City Council incumbents who sought re-election.

Three incumbents lost their re-election bids— Barb Johnson in Ward 4,  Blong Yang in Ward 5, and John Quincy in Ward 11.

Voters elected six new members to the Minneapolis Park Board and re-elected three Park Board incumbents.

The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, which did not  award its AFL-CIO endorsement in the Minneapolis Mayor’s race, saw wins for 10 of its 13 endorsed Minneapolis City Council candidates.

All five MRLF-endorsed candidates for Minneapolis Park Board were elected, producing a  new Board with a 5-4 majority that ran with AFL-CIO backing (see story).

“Workers will be at the core of the agenda,” said Mayor-elect Frey, addressing the MRLF’s delegate meeting November 8 in his first public appearance as Mayor-elect. “You’re the first people I’ve talked to,” he told MRLF delegates.

Jacob Frey greets union members at MRLF delegate meeting
Jacob Frey, Mayor-elect of Minneapolis (photo above, left), visited the delegate meeting of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CO the day after the November 7 election. “I want to work with you. I want a partnership,” Frey told delegates. “Workers will be at the core of the agenda.”

After a five-round tally of Ranked Choice Voting, Frey finished first with 45 percent of the vote. State Representative Ray Dehn finished second. Incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges finished third.

Although the MRLF did not vote an AFL-CIO endorsement in the mayor’s race, several unions did vote endorsements.

Frey, who is finishing a first term as Ward 3 City Council Member, won the most union endorsements in his bid for Mayor. His endorsements included: AFSCME Council 5, the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, Laborers District Council, Operating Engineers Local 49, Painters District Council 82, Teamsters Local 120, Teamsters Joint Council 32, and UNITE HERE Local 17.

State Representative Raymond Dehn was endorsed by the Minnesota Nurses Association in his run for Mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges was  endorsed by the SEIU Minnesota State Council, which also backed her run for Mayor four years ago.

Addressing the MRLF delegate meeting November 8, Fry thanked his supporters and acknowledged that not everyone in the room had backed his campaign.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We’re going to really work together.”

“I want to work with you. I want a partnership,” Frey said. “Our campaign was about labor, about workers, every step of the way.”

“I’m looking forward to working with Jacob as a team,” MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou told delegates.

“As City Council Member, Jacob Fry has been very helpful in ensuring that projects in his ward were built by union construction workers,” said Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. “We’re excited that he won the race. We’re looking forward to working with him as Mayor. We also appreciate his commitment to building consensus and bringing people together. Our city is too divided right now. Hopefully, Mayor Frey will be able to get us all working together.”

Reviewing outcomes in Minneapolis City Council races, Glaubitz noted that the MRLF had endorsed all 11 incumbents seeking re-election. “This Council had provided really great leadership for us,” she said. “When it came to passing the historic $15 minimum wage, we got all the council but one.”

Three MRLF-endorsed incumbents — Barb Johnson, Blong Yang, John Quincy — lost.

“Barb Johnson’s loss was the most surprising,” Glaubitz said. Johnson had served as City Council president since 2006. “It’s really about losing her leadership,” Glaubitz said. “She could leverage her network to deliver on our issues. That’s a tough loss.”

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 1

MRLF-endorsed incumbent Kevin Reich faced two challengers. He led in first choice votes and, after two rounds of Ranked Choice Voting, he led second place candidate Jillia Pessenda by a margin of 4,296-4,112 — just 184 votes.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 2

MRLF-endorsed incumbent Cam Gordon — the lone Green Party member of the City Council — ran unopposed and was re-elected.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3

Steve Fletcher, the AFL-CIO and DFL-endorsed candidate, faced a tough race in a four-candidate contest for this open seat (incumbent Jacob Frey ran for Mayor). First choice votes gave Socialist Alternative candidate Ginger Jentzen a lead of 3,297-2,709 over Fletcher. Jentzen also led Fletcher after votes were reallocated in round two of Ranked Choice Voting. In the third and final round, with the third and fourth place candidates eliminated, Fletcher came out in first place with a 4,861-3,844 lead over Jentzen.

Jentzen was endorsed by the CWA Minnesota State Council, Minnesota Nurses Association, and United Transportation Union Minnesota Legislative Board.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 4

MRLF-endorsed Barb Johnson, the five-term incumbent, narrowly led in first choice votes by 2,258-2,140 over the eventual winner, Phillipe Cunningham. In the second round of Ranked Choice Voting in the four-candidate race, which eliminated the third and fourth place finishers, Cunningham moved into first place. The final vote tally was Cunningham, 2,605 votes, and Johnson, 2,430 votes — a margin of just 175 votes.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 5

In a four-candidate race, eventual winner Jeremiah Ellison led the pack and second place MRLF-endorsed Blong Yang by 1,987-1,617 votes. Round two of Ranked Choice Voting dropped the third and fourth place candidates, giving Ellison a final winning lead of 2,313 to 1,769 over Yang.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 6

One-term incumbent Abdi Warsame, who was MRLF-endorsed, won a three-way race in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting, beating second place finisher Mohamud Noor by 3,629-3,390, a margin of just 239 votes.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 7

MRLF-endorsed Lisa Goodman, the incumbent, won in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting in a four-way race. She led second place finisher Janne Flisrand 4,742-2,832.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8

In the Ward 8 City Council contest, MRLF-endorsed Andrea Jenkins won outright in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting with nearly 70 percent of the vote in a four-candidate race for the open seat. Incumbent Elizabeth Glidden did not seek re-election and endorsed Jenkins.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 9

In Ward 9, Alondra Cano was the AFL-CIO endorsed incumbent and beat back a challenge from former Ward 9 City Council member Gary Schiff. Cano led in first choice votes in the four-candidate race, 999 votes ahead of Schiff. Round two, with the third and fourth place candidates eliminated, gave Cano a 2,982-1,934 lead over Schiff.

Schiff had been endorsed by UNITE HERE Local 17 and Teamsters Joint Council 32.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 10

Incumbent Lisa Bender, who was MRLF-endorsed, won in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting with nearly 62 percent of the vote.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 11

The MRLF-endorsed incumbent, John Quincy, trailed the eventual winner, Jeremy Schroeder,. by 3,200-3,230 first choice votes — just 30 votes! The second round of Ranked Choice Voting, however, dropped a third--place candidate and gave Schroeder a lead of 4,757-3,981 votes over Quincy.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 12

The MRLF-endorsed incumbent, Andrew Johnson, won nearly 83 percent of first choice votes, handily winning a three-candidate race.

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 13

MRLF-endorsed incumbent Linea Palmisano won more than 80 percent of first choice votes in a two-candidate race to win a second term.

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