The DFL has controlled the Minneapolis mayor's office for more than 30 years, but Cam Winton hopes to break that streak.
"I'm not seeking the endorsement of any party, because I want to call it like I see it," said Winton, who kicks off his campaign tonight. "I want to talk about potholes and police officers and what we can do to make it easier for businesses to start here and grow here."
The 34-year-old attorney argues the city needs to simplify its regulatory bureaucracy, hire more police and spend more on road repair. To help pay for those priorities, he'd divert money earmarked for building new bike lanes and buying expensive software licenses.
Winton contributed $500 to the Republican Party of Minnesota last year, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. But he says his support for same-sex marriage and his work in green energy will help him court the votes of the liberals who dominate city politics.
Democrat Barack Obama captured 80 percent of the Minneapolis vote last year; Republican Mitt Romney got less than 17 percent.
The last non-DFLer to be elected mayor of Minneapolis was independent Charles Stenvig, who served in the 1960s and '70s. The last time Minneapolis elected a Republican mayor was P. Kenneth Peterson in 1959.
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The office of mayor is technically non-partisan, but candidates are free to list any party affiliation or political philosophy they like on the ballot as long as it's three words or fewer.
Four years ago, candidates chose a variety of unique labels, including "Edgertonite National Party" and "Moderate Progressive Censored." One candidate, named Joey Lombard, simply asserted he "Is Awesome."
No one identified themselves as a Republican, and Winton won't, either. He's going with "Fresh leadership now."
(Photo courtesy of Cam Winton)