Council Member Kevin Reich will get a third term in leading the East Side on the Minneapolis City Council.
Reich narrowly edged ahead of challenger and fellow DFLer Jillia Pessenda after a second round of voting, according to unofficial election results. Pessenda proved to be a tough challenger for Reich, who failed to win the DFL endorsement earlier this year.
Speaking at an election night party at Adelitas Mexican Restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis, Reich credited the tight race to national moods, such as a sentiment against President Donald Trump, that boosted Pessenda. Despite a challenge from further to the left of the political spectrum, Reich said his core politics haven’t shifted.
“I’m dyed-in-the-wool DFL. Democratic. Farmer. Labor,” he said.
Reached Wednesday, Reich said in a third term he hopes to continue investing into the city’s infrastructure, taking care of the environment and improving the ward’s connection to the Mississippi River.
“These are substantial, real things that improve people’s lives that are direct from the city,” he said.
Pessenda, a Windom Park resident, joined the race after serving as the finance director for State Rep. Ilhan Omar’s District 60B campaign. Pessenda was an early supporter of a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis and previously worked on a successful effort to pass a state marriage equality bill.
Pessenda said in a statement that her campaign fulfilled its mission to increase voter turnout and bring more voices to the table. Voter turnout in Ward 1 jumped from nearly 31 percent in 2013 to 45 percent this year. Nearly 3,000 more Ward 1 residents cast ballots this year.
“We did not back down from conversations around race and class. We’ve raised awareness of our housing crisis; the need for more support for workers and their families; greater police accountability and prioritizing our environment. We will continue to work toward solutions to the challenges we face together,” Pessenda said.
John Hayden, an independent candidate, received nearly 10 percent of first-choice votes.
Ward 1 stretches from the Marshall Terrace and and Columbia Park neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis to the Como neighborhood in Southeast Minneapolis.