Elections wind down with parties as mayoral candidates wait for results

No mayoral candidate received enough votes to win the election, but candidates were in high spirits as they gathered with supporters.

Poll+workers+assist+a+man+in+voting+during+the+Minneapolis+municipal+election+at+the+Brian+Coyle+Center%2C+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+2.

Ethan Fine

Poll workers assist a man in voting during the Minneapolis municipal election at the Brian Coyle Center, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

by MN Daily staff

Minneapolis mayoral candidates held election night parties at several locations across the city Tuesday night as results continued to roll in.

As of Tuesday night, no candidate received more than 50% of the first-round votes, which is the threshold to be elected mayor. The city will begin working through voters’ second ranked choices on Wednesday. Incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey had the highest number of votes in the first round, taking over 42%.

Candidates Sheila Nezhad and Kate Knuth trailed behind Frey with about 21% and 18% of first round votes, respectively. Within the second ranked choices, Knuth leads with over 32%. 

Jacob Frey

As Frey walked into a room packed with his supporters, he announced, “We did it!” 

Frey’s post-election party was held at Jefe, a restaurant by St. Anthony Main, where supporters gathered and congratulated Frey on the race. 

Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce President Jonathan Weinhagen did not vote for Frey in 2017, but changed his mind after he saw his leadership after George Floyd’s murder. 

“We need somebody who’s been tested, who’s been tried, who’s gone through the ups and downs, and he has, and is ready to lead us into the future of our city post-pandemic,” Weinhagen. 

Abdi Dayib said he saw Frey as honest during his first election, and supported Frey again for the same reason. Dayib said he is in support Frey’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd’s murder. 

Sheila Nezhad

About 40 people packed into Moon Palace Books in South Minneapolis to celebrate Nezhad’s campaign Tuesday night. Nezhad hosted the event in tandem with Ward 9 candidate Jason Chavez, as Nezhad lives in Ward 9 and supported his bid for Council member. 

Samuel Doten said he was drawn to Nezhad as a candidate because she is skilled at connecting to movements and people on the ground. 

Nezhad said her campaign knocked on the doors of 30,000 households in Minneapolis and she was proud of the work they had done. 

“The people are my heart and being able to talk to so many new people feels like such a [good thing],” Nezhad said. 

Sarah Larsson, who attended Nezhad’s event, said she was also concerned about who had access to the polls the day of the election, which might impact the election results. 

“I feel stressed,” Larsson said before the results were released. 

A.J. Awed

Longtime Cedar-Riverside neighbor A.J. Awed hosted a rooftop election party at his apartment building. Neighbors and supporters gathered around his TV to cheer the announcement of the public safety amendment’s failure. 

Sarha Abdi attended Awed’s party as she supported his views on public safety. 

“I want to have a good relationship with the police,” Abdi said. “That’s the most important.” 

JD Spangler volunteered as A.J. Awed’s campaign strategist because he thought Awed would commit to bringing the city together after the murder of George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Really A.J.’s already won. He got out there and he created an alternative pathway for people to consider a number of the issues,” Spangler said. “He won through just getting people coming [together].”

Awed concluded the night with a speech in Somali then in English, labeling his campaign as a success despite his impending loss. 

Kate Knuth

The Knuth campaign, which was not taking questions the night of the election, held their event at Utepils Brewing. The venue had over 30 masked attendees, with live music playing throughout the event.

Sixty-two-year-old Betty Tisel, a University of Minnesota graduate, volunteered as treasurer for Knuth’s campaign and said was particularly interested in her stance on climate change.

“Climate change is obviously a global problem but there’s so much we can do locally and we could do so much more in our city and I know that she’ll really work from day one to put that in action,” Tisel said. 

Nestor Gomez Jimenez, 28, volunteered as Knuth’s campaign chair. He said he got involved with Knuth’s campaign after talking with her about issues he cares about. After sharing his thoughts, Jimenez said Knuth asked him to be her campaign chair. 

“It was that sense of like, she’s willing to listen to people, she’s willing to bring community in,” Jiminez said. “She’s willing to do the work to really make sure communities feel heard, but at the same time she wants to do something about it and that’s why we’ve been able to gain the support of a lot of community.”

Olivia Stevens, Caleb Hensin, Holly Gilvary, Maia Irvin, Lydia Morrell and Gabby Lombard contributed to this report.