Reporter Jon Collins on the key issues in the Nov. 2 city elections

Three Minneapolis mayoral candidates
Minneapolis mayoral candidates (from left) Jacob Frey, Kate Knuth and Sheila Nezhad, photographed at campaign events in October 2021.
Tim Evans for MPR News

On the final day of campaigning before election day Tuesday, candidates in the Twin Cities metro area are knocking on the last few doors and folks active on the three amendments up for a vote are making their final push on these important and controversial measures that could change the Minneapolis city charter.

Jon Collins is a reporter on the MPR News race, class and communities team. He told Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Now that Kate Knuth, Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey have been most successful in raising money, most active in doorknocking and are the ones most mentioned. 

Knuth and Nezhad are using a strategy to take advantage of the ranked choice voting system to beat incumbent Mayor Frey by launching their “Don’t Rank Frey” campaign. 

Candidates A.J. Awed and Jerrell Perry have also been campaigning a significant amount.

The public safety charter amendment would change the city’s charter and replace references to a police department to a department of public safety. Collins said it removes the requirement to have a certain number of police officers.

It also removes a line that gives the mayor complete control over the police department, Collins said, and puts it more in line with the other departments where the City Council has a say in how the department is run.

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Crime is a big issue in the Minneapolis campaigns, Collins said. Minneapolis has had more than 80 homicides this year, and low-income neighborhoods and Black neighborhoods have been especially hard hit. Safety is one of the top issues on people’s minds in this election, Collins concluded.

In St. Paul, Mayor Melvin Carter isn’t facing any strong opposition in the race, Collins said, who added that the tone in St Paul is markedly different from the Minneapolis campaign — it’s “more playful.“

Both cities have rent control measures on the ballot. St. Paul has a ballot question to establish rent control, which would cap rent increases at 3 percent a year. Landlords can ask for exceptions, Collins said. The Minneapolis amendment is not a rent control policy but would give the City Council permission to craft rent control or rent stabilization measures to put before voters for approval later.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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