Cedar-Riverside caucus draws raucous crowds

The event was shut down after 40 minutes due to fighting.

by Allison Kronberg

Rowdy, fighting crowds cut short a neighborhood precinct caucus Tuesday in Cedar-Riverside, where Mohamud Noor is challenging longstanding state Rep. Phyllis Kahn.

Nearly 300 people crowded into the gymnasium of the Brian Coyle Community Center on Tuesday, but tension and scuffles between attendees shut down the caucus 40 minutes in.

“I saw a heated discussion and a table move and a speaker move, and the police came in,” said Corey Day, executive director of Minnesota’s DFL party.

Hamdi Abdujalil, 18, said attendees screamed when Noor arrived at the meeting, insisting they “register” with the candidate.

“This is all because of misunderstanding,” he said.

Day said the altercations at the precinct caucus were unusual — something the party hasn’t dealt with in the past — and it’s unknown if the event will reschedule in a different form.

“We have to talk to folks and figure out what exactly went down,” he said.

Noor has strong support in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and other areas of Minneapolis, which could help him unseat Kahn in the race to represent the University’s district.

Kahn, who has been serving in the state Legislature for more than four decades, said this election is different from any other because Noor has strong backing in the district because of his community ties.

“The major issue is the Somali opponent will have major support in the Somali community,” she said.

Noor was elected to the Minneapolis School Board in December, representing Cedar-Riverside, and he also serves as the interim executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota.

“It helps if you can speak their same language, but the bottom line is understanding the issues that impact that community and becoming a representative for that community,” he previously told the Minnesota Daily.

Prior to the event, Kahn said she’s confident in the race and that her successful track record will win her another term.