May 2, 2023 - Politics

DFL endorsements thin Council fields in Minneapolis, St. Paul

Illustration of a donkey with ballot elements that are distorted and wavy behind it

Illustration: Axios Visuals

The outcome of heated DFL endorsement battles narrowed the candidate fields in some contested council races in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Why it matters: While the contests are technically nonpartisan, the party's backing carries significant weight given the political lean of both cities.

What's new: In Minneapolis, Conrad Zbikowski, a progressive challenger to Council Member Michael Rainville, dropped out after the Ward 3 incumbent secured the DFL endorsement over the weekend.

Yes, but: Other challengers decided to stay in their respective races for now.

  • Minneapolis council candidates Luther Ranheim and Nancy Ford are both reportedly still vying for the open Ward 12 seat after losing the endorsement to Aurin Chowdhury. A fourth contender, Jerome Evans, dropped his campaign.
  • In St. Paul's Ward 7, several rivals to DFL-endorsed Cheniqua Johnson said they will continue through November. "In a ranked-choice system, people need choices," candidate Pa Der Vang told the Star Tribune.
  • The city's Ward 1 convention failed to deliver an endorsement after some delegates walked out over nine hours into the deliberations. All three candidates β€” Anika Bowie, James Lo and Omar Syed β€” are staying in the race.

Of note: Bowie, who has agreed to abide by the decision, told Axios she's expecting another convention to be held since the work was not completed.

The intrigue: In St. Paul, Isaac Russell initially said he'd abide by the endorsement and end his campaign to succeed outgoing Council Member Chris Tolbert after losing it to rival Saura Jost.

  • But days later, he issued a statement saying he had reconsidered and would stay in the race.

What we're watching: Council President Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8) and incumbent Council Member Jamal Osman (Ward 6) are expected to face challenges at their upcoming endorsement conventions.

  • Several candidates are also in the running to succeed retiring Council Member Lisa Goodman in Ward 7.

Check out our full candidate trackers for Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Editor's note: This story was updated on May 4 to reflect that Isaac Russell reversed his earlier statements and decided to continue his campaign.


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