Nov 8, 2023 - Politics

Andrea Jenkins wins reelection to Minneapolis City Council

Andrea Jenkins survived a challenge from the left. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins, who in 2017 became the first Black openly trans woman to win an election in the U.S., narrowly defeated a progressive challenger in Tuesday's municipal election.

What happened: Jenkins overcame Soren Stevenson, who ran to her left and was endorsed by both the Minnesota DFL and the Democratic Socialists of America, by just 38 votes, according to preliminary results.

Why it matters: Jenkins' Ward 8 win is a victory for Mayor Jacob Frey and his moderate allies on the 13-member council.

The big picture: Progressives made gains in Tuesday's council elections, winning two open seats where a more moderate Democrat was also on the ballot.

Yes, but: While they'll have a majority on some issues, the bloc will likely fall short of a veto-proof majority next year.

Between the lines: Ward 8, where George Floyd was murdered by police in 2020, is one of the most liberal in the city.

Zoom in: Jenkins, a 62-year-old poet, writer and former council aide, described herself as a "pragmatic progressive" and argued her years of work in the community made her better positioned to enact change.

  • She was supported by a group aligned with Frey, several influential labor unions and prominent DFL lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison.

The other side: Stevenson, 29, won a $2.4 million settlement with the city after he was partially blinded by a police projectile during the unrest that followed Floyd's murder.

  • His campaign, backed by a number of progressive groups and local lawmakers, argued that Jenkins and her moderate allies on the council have not done enough on police accountability, affordable housing and climate change.

What we're watching: Whether Jenkins has the votes to remain as president under the new council.

  • Meanwhile, Stevenson's campaign told Axios they are weighing whether to pursue a recount. A decision is expected later this week.
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