Alondra Cano has won the Minneapolis Ninth Ward City Council seat by 229 votes. This afternoon, she thanked her supporters as well as her opponent, Ty Moore, and vowed "to deepen the legacies of racial equity, civil rights, and economic justice" as the first Latina representative at City Hall.
Moore was gracious in defeat:
Deepest appreciation to everyone who sacrificed to make this possible. We created an alt base of political power in our city, let's build it
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The Minneapolis Ninth Ward City Council race is close and coming to a close. Going into tonight's official count, only 131 votes separate the top contenders in the first-choice category of the city's ranked-voting system.
The outcome either way is historic. Residents of the Powderhorn and Phillips neighborhoods will know soon enough whether they'll be represented at City Hall by Alondra Cano, the first Mexican-American, or Ty Moore, the first socialist in nearly a century.
Both candidates are community organizers who ran on progressive platforms, with the support of various labor and activist groups, although their styles differed greatly.
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Moore's position is the extreme of the two -- more street-fighting man than mediator. He's called for a $15 minimum wage (although that's a state issue) as well as a foreclosure moratorium and an end to police resources for evictions. He believes yesterday's 5 a.m. eviction raid on the home of Jaymie Kelly -- one of his allies in Occupy Homes MN and one of many candidates for mayor -- was intended by the Powers that Be to distract his last-minute get-out-the-vote drive.
The problem, as far as he sees it, is that everyone running for office in Minneapolis claims to be progressive when they're actually part of the machine.
"People make promises to the working people of the community but they've also built ties to the Chamber of Commerce and to various business interests, and those are impossible contradictions to navigate," he said.
Moore has criticized Cano, specifically, for a mailer distributed on her behalf by the National Association of Realtors. The lobbying group is based in Chicago and believed by some to be largely responsible for the collapse of the housing industry.
Cano called Moore's criticism of her "disingenuous," explaining that she neither sought the NAR endorsement nor took any contributions from them.
"He really decided to use it as an opportunity to misinform the voters and to use the same Tea Party tactics he critiques in his own campaign to try to get votes," she said.
Cano has the backing of a handful of politicians, including Congressman Keith Ellison, and takes a more modest approach to issues such as housing and labor -- at least when compared to Moore's.
Still, Cano said of all five candidates vying for the ward seat, "I don't believe we were running against each other. I think we were all running to show Minneapolis the ideas and the vision that we could bring forward."
The voters beg to differ, and will have their say soon enough about whose politics -- or rather, whose aesthetic -- they prefer.
-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to [email protected]