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Schiff drops out of Minneapolis mayoral contest, backs Hodges

Paul Demko//June 19, 2013//

Schiff drops out of Minneapolis mayoral contest, backs Hodges

Paul Demko//June 19, 2013//

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Mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges (photo courtesy of Betsy Hodges for Mayor)

Less than a week after the DFL convention failed to endorse a candidate in the Minneapolis mayoral contest, there is one less contender. Gary Schiff dropped out of the race on Wednesday and backed fellow Minneapolis City Council member Betsy Hodges.

“Gary Schiff and I stand on the same side of a progressive vision for Minneapolis and I am grateful for his support today,” Hodges said in a statement announcing the move.

Saturday’s endorsing convention adjourned after four rounds of balloting failed to see any candidate reach the 60 percent threshold required for endorsement. On the final ballot cast, former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew led Hodges by a 50-45 percent margin.

Schiff was in third place on the first two ballots, but dropped out of the endorsement contest and backed Hodges. At the time, he indicated that he would remain in the race if there was no endorsement.

But apparently Schiff changed his mind. There were some signs of trouble after he dropped out of the endorsement contest. The Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82, which had been backing his candidacy, switched its allegiance to Andrew. In addition, Schiff’s campaign manager, Mark Warren, quit following the convention.

“If there was a path to victory, I would have been willing to stay,” Warren told the Star Tribune. “I personally did not see a path to victory on Saturday night’s results.”

Three other candidates — former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes, city council member Don Samuels and school teacher Jim Thomas — sought the DFL endorsement, but received little support. Neither surpassed the 10 percent threshold required to remain viable after the first ballot.

Another DFL candidate, software executive Stephanie Woodruff, did not seek the party’s endorsement, but is in the contest. Former Alderman Dan Cohen has also indicated that he’d likely enter the race if there was no DFL endorsement, according to Minnpost. Independent candidate Cam Winton is also in the mix.

Even with Schiff’s departure, that almost certainly means more than a half-dozen candidates will be on the ballot in November. With incumbent mayor R.T. Rybak not seeking re-election, it’s expected to be the first highly competitive mayoral race since Minneapolis adopted ranked-choice voting.

The Minneapolis Labor Federation will screen and potentially endorse a candidate on July 9. So far Andrew and Hodges have each garnered some support from organized labor. Hodges has the backing of the Service Employees International Union, while Andrew is endorsed by the Minneapolis Building Trades Council and the Teamsters Joint Council 32.

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