Former Hennepin Theatre Trust CEO Tom Hoch will launch his campaign for mayor Feb. 21. File photo

Tom Hoch’s entry into mayor’s race no longer tentative

Updated: February 21, 2017 - 2:26 pm

Official campaign launch planned for Tuesday

Tom Hoch, the former CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust, plans to make his candidacy for mayor of Minneapolis official.

Hoch filed the paperwork to form a mayoral campaign committee last week, but when contacted by phone Tuesday he said he was simply “exploring” a run for office. But that exploratory period proved to be short-lived: A campaign launch event is scheduled for noon Tuesday in the lobby of the State Theatre on Hennepin Avenue.

Hoch led the city’s downtown theater district for more than two decades, first as head of the for-profit Historic Theater Group, then as CEO of the trust, a nonprofit formed in 2000. He was 62 when he announced his retirement last fall, sparking speculation that he was planning a run for office.

Hoch lives in Lowry Hill with his husband, Mark Addicks, a retired General Mills executive.

Both Hocks and Addicks had previously contributed to the Ward 3 City Council campaign of Jacob Frey, who announced his own bid for mayor on Jan. 3. On Jan. 23, the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board issued an advisory opinion that gave Frey the green light to spend funds donated to his City Council campaign committee on his mayoral bid.

That decision was criticized by another prominent candidate, Nekima Levy-Pounds, the former University of St. Thomas law professor and president of the Minneapolis NAACP who launched her campaign for Minneapolis mayor in November. State law restricts the ability of some candidates for public office to shift money raised for one campaign into a campaign for a different office.

Frey’s latest disclosure, filed Jan. 31, lists a cash balance of more than $175,000 for his campaign committee.

Asked about the donations Wednesday, Hoch declined to comment on the record. The email announcing his campaign launch stated Hoch would not comment on his campaign until after the event Tuesday.

Hoch previously worked as a schoolteacher, attorney and a projects manager with the City of Minneapolis. He was chair of the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s board from Feb. 2015 until earlier this month.

Other candidates in the 2017 mayoral contest include state Rep. Raymond Dehn, a DFLer whose district includes parts of North and downtown Minneapolis, and filmmaker Aswar Rahman.