On Tuesday, November 7, voters in Minneapolis took to the polls to decide city council races in all 13 wards, following election redistricting due to population changes in the 2020 census. In North Minneapolis, both LaTrisha Vetaw (Ward 4) and Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5) easily won their re-election races. Both incumbents represent historically Black neighborhoods in North Minneapolis and were able to win in the first-round of ranked-choice balloting, with strong support in their districts.
While overall turnout was lower this year than in 2021, both Vetaw and Ellison each saw an increase in the percentage of their support from the 2021 election, with Vetaw garnering 69 percent of the vote, up from 60 percent in 2021. Ellison claimed 53 percent of the first ballot votes this year, up from 31 percent in the 2021 election.
The campaigns cite a concerted approach to building relationships as contributing to their successful campaign strategies.
“We’ve been knocking on doors and on the phone since January,” Vetaw said. “I really think that my team and I have done a good job in these two years. People believe in me and want to see what else I can accomplish,” she adds. “I feel proud of how many folks feel supported and represented by the work. When you knock [on doors], now folks have a higher expectation of you. They’re asking, ‘Did you do what you said you would do?’ and ‘What’s next.’”
Both Vetaw and Ellison’s campaign offices were teeming with volunteers calling voters and knocking on doors up until the polls closed.
While the campaigns seemed like they were on track for a good night, both candidates wanted to drive up the numbers of voters, since this is the first election since Minnesota passed the “Restore the Vote” bill, giving back voting rights to more than 55,000 formerly incarcerated people who were previously disenfranchised.
“I grew up on the Northside,” Ellison notes. “I know the unique challenges we face here. And I’m incredibly grateful to continue to serve all of my constituents, regardless of their conditions or if they supported me or not.” he continues. “Campaigns are, if nothing else, a series of thank you’s. The whole campaign is one big ‘thank you’ to North Minneapolis, especially when there was nothing else on the ballot.
“Our numbers tell us that we talked to people. That we listened to people, and that we collaborated with people. It’s a resilient community, even though I often wish we didn’t have to be so resilient. But we are.”
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