Nov 3, 2021 - Politics
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wins re-election
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks to supporters Tuesday night.
Mayor Jacob Frey addresses supporters Tuesday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Mayor Jacob Frey has won re-election, securing 49.1% of the vote after the completion of ranked-choice ballot counting.

The big picture: Voters didn't just re-elect Frey, they sent him back to City Hall with more power, thanks to a measure that shifts control to the executive branch and a City Council that's likely to be more aligned with his moderate agenda.

  • Plus: The failure of the police charter amendment, which Frey opposed, reinforces his approach to reforming the police department via ordinance versus pursuing a wholesale redesign of the city's public safety response on the ballot.

What happened: Frey emerged from a bruising two years marked by the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and a heated debate over the future of the MPD — facing underwater approval ratings and intense criticism from the city's progressive plank.

  • But top rivals Sheila Nezhad and Kate Knuth, both of whom ran to Frey's left and endorsed the police charter amendment, were unable to overcome the mayor's fundraising edge and persuade enough voters to back their visions.
  • Their last-ditch alliance to consolidate support by touting dual endorsements and campaign help from prominent progressives such as Rep. Ilhan Omar fell short.
  • Knuth, a former state legislator, came in second place with 38% of the final vote.

What to watch: Frey has pledged to continue to work to fix troubles at the MPD.

  • Whether he can actually make a difference — and whether popular police chief Medaria Arradondo stays on board to help guide that effort — remains to be seen.
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