Sniping for office

Hauser involved in two election snafus

One of the drawbacks of the Minneapolis election cycle is that it falls in off years--like this one--making it hard to find an attentive electorate. But one of the benefits is notable: The elections are citywide, making every elected office ripe for change.

Four years ago, reform was in the air as a new mayor and seven new council members arrived at City Hall. This year, there will be at least four new council members. (Though one hopeful was on the council before this current crop.)

If the election season was any indication--and it probably was--it will be a contentious bunch. Many races were full of more than the usual sniping, and there was an outbreak of of campaign complaints--at least four by latest count--filed with Hennepin County's elections office.

Marie Hauser is in the middle of two campaign dust-ups.

One involved her use of park board candidate Mary Merrill Anderson's photo on a piece of campaign literature right before the primary. (First reported on Blotter here.) The problem is twofold: Anderson never approved the use of her visage, and Anderson is also the aunt of Jeff Hayden, who was one of Hauser's opponents in the primary.

To add further complexity, Anderson is African American, and Hauser is white. The Eighth Ward is "majority minority," so the move looked especially calculating. Anderson and Hayden have pursued a case that is currently being reviewed by an administrative law judge.

"We want to let Marie know that this is not okay, and that she can't just get away with exploiting us like this," Hayden says.

Not that Hauser is one to take matters lying down. Hauser's general election opponent, Elizabeth Glidden, had a complaint filed against her in the waning days of the election. Glidden's sin? Using the letters "DFL" on her campaign literature. Both Glidden and Hauser belong to the local old gray party, but no candidate was endorsed in the Eighth Ward convention earlier this year.

"The county statute and a letter from the party make it very clear," Hauser argues. "You can't just use the party label if you haven't been endorsed. You have to use something like 'a DFL member,' or 'associated' or 'affiliated with.'"

Hauser says the complaint was filed by two "residents of the Eighth Ward" before admitting that "one is on my campaign and one is not."

If the move seems a little pedantic, Hauser's not concerned. "Every newspaper in town has run a story about how bad I am for putting out a piece of campaign literature that was meant to show unity," Hauser says. "What my opponent has done is an actual violation of a statute."

Perhaps. But the upshot, as Hauser notes, is that both Eighth Ward candidates have complaints filed against them, neither will come to City Hall unblemished.

"It was supposed to be a fun campaign," Hauser sighs, without a hint of irony, "then things turned negative."

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