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Stalemate and Revival in Minneapolis Mayor's Race

By John Gizzi   |   Monday, 17 Jun 2013 04:24 PM

The failure of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (the official name for the Democrats in the Gopher State) to endorse a candidate for mayor of Minneapolis has resulted in a wide-open race this November and raises the possibility of a comeback by a Republican who lost the mayoralty 44 years ago.

Although former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew led on every ballot at the citywide DFL convention, he never reached the 60 percent figure needed to guarantee endorsement and now all five of Andrew's rivals for the endorsement will also run in the November election.

City Councilwoman Betsy Hodges, who drew 44 percent against Andrew on the fourth and final ballot, has signaled she will stay in the race. By telling supporters to leave and go outside the convention for pizza, Hodges' campaign team left the party conclave without a quorum and thus forced an adjournment. The lack of an endorsed DFL candidate means that someone other than a Democrat could win the crowded mayoral race.

Attorney Cam Winton is running as an independent and 76-year-old former City Council President Dan Cohen, who lost the mayoral race back in 1969, suggested he, too, will run.

At a time when the race for mayor was still non-partisan, liberal Republican Cohen had the backing of many Democrats, much of the city's business establishment, and the major Minneapolis newspapers in the 1969 race. But in a big upset, former city police detective and independent Charles Stenvig ran on a platform of keeping taxes low and stopping crime and defeated Cohen handily.

Now a member of the City Planning Commission, Cohen in 1982 revealed the arrest for shop-lifting of a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor to two Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporters on promise of anonymity.

After their editors overrode the reporters and Cohen was revealed as the source, he sued Cowles Media -- which then owned the Star Tribune -- and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices ruled that editors had violated a confidentiality agreement of reporters and Cohen won damages.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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