MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Betsy Hodges’ face is one Minneapolitans will be seeing much more of, and her personality is one her husband insists they’ll get a kick out of.
“She can tell really good jokes,” said Gary Cunningham, Hodges’ husband. “We laugh a lot.”
The laughing started seven years ago. The couple met at a goodbye dinner for Cunningham’s former employer.
“I said, ‘If you weren’t a city council member, I’d ask you out to dinner,’ and she said, ‘What do you care, you are going to St. Paul to work, you won’t be working in Minneapolis anymore.’ I said ‘You’re right.’ So I asked her out to dinner that night,” Cunningham said.
When she told him she was running for mayor, Cunningham said the idea was fantastic.
And so did Minneapolis voter Erica Mauter.
“She talked openly about the gaps between white people and people of color,” Mauter said. “And just to say that was profound. We don’t talk about those issues that way. I thought it was a courageous way to talk about the problems we actually have and are trying to solve.”
Hamline University law professor David Schultz says Hodges ran a smart campaign. She garnered LGBT support and that of young voters.
“Betsy Hodges had the groundwork, the buzz and the excitement to mobilize people much like Obama did in ‘08,” Schultz said.
Cunningham says his wife has a quirky personality that resonates. For instance, her favorite movie is “Die Hard,” she’s a Nascar fan, she likes country music and she runs half marathons often.
A big part of Hodges’ new job description is to be a cheerleader for the city.
Her husband says she is a major fan of the city. He got a job offer out of a town a few years ago, and she said no way, I’m a Minneapolis lifer.