Frey, Hofstede vie for DFL support

The Ward 3 City Council candidates caucused across U area neighborhoods Tuesday.

Minneapolis lawyer and Ward 3 City Council candidate Jacob Frey, center, talks to marketing and international business senior Ghee Kaefring, left, and global studies junior Marissa Kramer at a pre-caucus party for Frey Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at Burrito Loco in Dinkytown. After Tuesdays caucuses around Minneapolis, the Democratic Labor Party will endorse candidates for city council.

Emily Dunker

Minneapolis lawyer and Ward 3 City Council candidate Jacob Frey, center, talks to marketing and international business senior Ghee Kaefring, left, and global studies junior Marissa Kramer at a pre-caucus party for Frey Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at Burrito Loco in Dinkytown. After Tuesday’s caucuses around Minneapolis, the Democratic Labor Party will endorse candidates for city council.

Brian Arola

University of Minnesota students overwhelmingly supported Jacob Frey to be their next city councilman Tuesday night at the DFL precinct caucuses near campus.

Minneapolis City Councilwoman Diane Hofstede and her challenger Frey were looking to grab delegates and support Tuesday in hopes of securing their party’s endorsement in early May.

Hofstede and Frey are contending for the City Council spot representing parts of the University area. Each spoke throughout the ward in hopes of securing residents that will ultimately vote on which candidate should receive the party’s coveted endorsement.

The two are the only candidates for the council seat and are both Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members, so a party endorsement could determine who wins the election in November.

While University students in Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes largely supported Frey, different precincts offered glimpses of where support lies for each candidate.

Student Frey supporters made up the majority of the delegates at the 1st Precinct’s caucus at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and Newman Center in Dinkytown.

At a pre-caucus event held at Burrito Loco, Frey made an appearance, shaking hands and expressing confidence in his chances.

Many of the students at the event went down the street to the church to serve as delegates.

Biomechanical engineering senior Karl LaFleur said he came to support Frey because he has a fresh perspective on issues affecting students, including housing.

“He’s younger, and he’s got new views on things in the city,” he said.

Frey is a lot more in touch with student concerns, said Minnesota Student Association President Taylor Williams. He showed up in Dinkytown to pledge support for Frey.

“He’s very enthusiastic — you can tell he legitimately cares about student issues,” Williams said.

Williams said he has grown frustrated with an inability to reach Hofstede with concerns.

Some students said Tuesday was their first experience caucusing. For them, it was the first taste of the early stages of democracy

Global studies junior Brenna Eschweiler said she had never gotten involved in politics until Frey came and spoke at her apartment, The Chateau. She and 50 others were able to become delegates for the 1st Precinct, while 12 volunteered to be alternates.

In the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, student supporters were again mostly for Frey but made up a smaller portion of potential delegates. Support from neighborhood residents varied.

Across the ward in the 5th Precinct caucus, held at the Catholic Eldercare center, the crowd was decidedly older. The turnout was also much larger than in the Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods.

More than 90 people showed up in hopes of becoming delegates, with only about 48 spots up for grabs. Unofficially, 48 attendees were Hofstede supporters, 37 supported Frey and nine were undecided.

While the University area seemed to favor Frey, the 5th Precinct leaned toward Hofstede. With an initial advantage in delegates, Hofstede’s support looked strong among the middle-aged and senior citizen attendees.

Todd Roeder, 55, who lives in the St. Anthony West neighborhood in the 5th Precinct, said he has supported Hofstede since she first ran in 2005.

“I’ve recognized her activism on a number of causes that are pertinent to the neighborhood,” he said.

Roeder said Hofstede’s work on libraries and on the Mississippi River waterfront also drew his support.

After Tuesday, 3rd Ward delegates will go on their May 4 Ward Convention to vote on which candidate should receive the DFL nomination.

Delegates were also chosen for mayoral and park board endorsements Tuesday. Several people spoke at the caucuses in favor of different mayoral candidates.

At the First Congregational Church in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, spoke in favor of mayoral candidate Mark Andrew.

At the Catholic Eldercare center, candidates Don Samuels and Jackie Cherryhomes spoke.

The mayoral convention will  be held June 15.