MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Incumbent Jacob Frey has been re-elected as mayor of Minneapolis.
Minneapolis election officials announced Frey as the winner Wednesday afternoon. According to the Associated Press, Frey secured 56% of the vote, with Kate Knuth getting 44% of the vote.
BREAKING: Jacob Frey is re-elected as mayor of Minneapolis, per @votempls tabulation of ranked choice votes. The scope of his powers in office will change with passage of question one 'strong mayor' that defines him as city's chief executive. @wcco
— Caroline Cummings (@CaroRCummings) November 3, 2021
In a statement, Knuth congratulated Frey on his win and thanked her supporters. “I am grateful for and humbled by your support and I am proud to have finished a strong second in the race,” she said.
At a press conference, Frey said his three priorities he laid out when he entered as mayor remain the same.
“It’s still affordable housing, I believe that housing is a right. It’s economic inclusion, ensuring that Black and Brown communities aren’t just at the table, but are also key beneficiaries in the process. And it’s safety and accountability,” Frey said. “They aren’t mutually inclusive, they are intrinsically linked.”
Following the first-round ballot tabulations Tuesday evening, Frey did not have enough votes to be declared the winner. Additional rounds of tabulation were required after no candidate reached the required threshold of first-choice votes. Ballot tabulation resumed at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
In his first term, Frey faced criticism from conservatives about his handling of the destructive unrest following the murder of George Floyd by police in 2020, including his decision to evacuate officers from the 3rd Precinct building. The Democrat also was lambasted by many progressives and liberals for his defense of the Minneapolis Police Department over calls to replace it with a department of public safety.
Mayor Frey has been steadfast in his support of Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, with the duo implementing several policing changes following Floyd’s death, including the banning of choke holds, “warrior-style” training and stopping drivers for low-level offenses.
“There’s not a mayor in the country that is content with the pace of change, and count me in on that vote,” Frey told the Associated Press last week. “But we have passed a litany of reforms and changes, more than any mayor in the history of this city.”
Frey also frequently clashed with the Minneapolis City Council, most recently when it overrode his veto concerning language in the public safety charter amendment. The proposed amendment failed to pass on Tuesday night.
“Obviously there were portions of Question 2 where there was significant disagreement,” Frey said. “First and foremost for me was this notion of having the head of public safety — or the commissioner or whatever you want to call them — report to 14 different people, 13 council members and the mayor. I didn’t think that was workable, and clearly a majority of our city agreed.”
Also on the ballot was an amendment about switching the city’s governance system to a “strong mayor” structure. Frey supported the measure, as well as an amendment which would authorize the city council to implement rent control. Both of those measures passed.
Frey says the “strong mayor” structure, which was Ballot Question 1, was the most important proposal on the ballot and will ensure more accountability and efficiency in the city’s government.
“There will be a clarity as to who controls what,” Frey said. “I’m very hopeful that Minneapolis’ form of government will see great benefits from this change.”
Minneapolis City Clerk Casey Carl said voter turnout was 53.94%.
“That’s a record high for an off-year, municipal-only election,” Carl said.
For a look at the results in the other top races of 2021 in Minnesota, click here.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)