I’m writing this the day after Election Day, when Minneapolis voters split the baby on the School Board, went ga-ga for booze, and voted overwhelmingly to raise the filing fees for city offices beginning in 2017. A look at the electoral maps is fascinating.
In electing Rebecca Gagnon and Don Samuels to at-large school board seats, voters picked the avatars of DFL traditionalists (Gagnon) and Rybakian reformers (Samuels). Finishing just out of the money was Iris Altamirano, bidding to become the board’s first Latina by straddling the DFL-reformer split.
A look at the map (see below) shows Gagnon’s 5-percentage-point triumph was citywide, with only a few pockets of dissent. She finished first everywhere except the North side’s Fourth and Fifth Wards (Samuels’ home territory), four South Minneapolis precincts that placed Altamirano first, and two wealthy reformer-friendly Southwest areas around Lake of the Isles and east Lake Harriet.
Altamirano lost to Samuels by about 2 points, and the map of their rivalry shows a class split in Southwest. The wealthiest neighborhoods (Linden Hills, Fulton, Lynnhurst, Kenwood, East Calhoun) all went for Samuels, while Altamirano took relatively poorer Southwest precincts in Kingfield plus Lyndale, CARAG, Whittier. Otherwise, Samuels kept his home base on the Northside, Altamirano the more Latino-heavy Southside, and they split Northeast and the University of Minnesota area.
But in the end — as so often happens — the richer, voter-heavy parts of Southwest got the at-large school board members they wanted.
A proposal to raise the filing fees for city offices, including mayor, City Council and Park Board, passed overwhelmingly with 65 percent support. I guessed it would be closer, if only because many folks oppose increasing any barrier to candidate participation.
Yet only five of the city’s 127 precincts voted against higher fees; three in Blong Yang’s Fifth Ward (he opposed higher fees), one in Alondra Cano’s Ninth, and one at the University of Minnesota.
In the other charter vote, Minneapolitans bellied up to the bar in a big way; 84 percent voted to obliterate the 70/30 food/booze ratio for neighborhood restaurants which theoretically limited drinking. Every Minneapolis precinct voted to support this, and all did by more than 60 percent.
But which precincts were the booziest? No shock — Downtown’s restaurant-heavy North Loop topped the list with 95 percent support, followed by a couple of precincts in East Harriet, and two in the Near-Northeast restaurant district. The least support (60-65 percent) was found in the city’s poorer Fifth and Sixth wards, with the North Side’s Willard-Hay neighborhood bringing up the rear with precisely 60 percent. As with the school board, wealth correlated with winning, though everyone was on the same side here.
A quick note about Hennepin County judicial races, which I wrote about several weeks ago. Voters did indeed extend a 12-year string of women beating men for open judgeships with Bridget Sullivan and Bev Benson defeating Paul Scoggin and Chris Ritts respectively. In a race where partisanship became an issue but there were no party endorsements, Amy Dawson (a former Fifth District DFL chair) beat Bev Aho (who had a lot of Republican support). So your rubric is basically women over men and DFLers over Republicans.
David Brauer, a former Journal editor, lives in Kingfield with his wife and two kids.
(Below) precincts won by School Board candidates: Gagnon (white), Samuels (yellow) and Altamirano (blue)
(Below) precincts where Samuels got more votes than Altamirano (white) and vice versa (blue)