History-making trans politician Andrea Jenkins prevails in a close election

After serving nearly five years on the Minneapolis City Council, trailblazing trans politician Andrea Jenkins faced a significant challenge in Tuesday’s off-year local elections. In a tense race with a fellow progressive challenger, Jenkins narrowly emerged as victor.

In 2017, Jenkins made history as the first out Black trans woman elected to public office in the US, representing the 8th Ward in Minneapolis. Last year, she made history once again when she won her election as city council president. Among her legislative accomplishments, she has named, per Minneapolis Public Radio, “rent protections, paid family leave for city workers and declaring both racism and climate change as public health emergencies.” But according to first-time candidate Soren Stevenson, Jenkins is too moderate.

Stevenson is a white 29-year-old activist who was inspired to run after he lost an eye to a police officer’s rubber bullet while protesting the murder of George Floyd. His campaign argued that Jenkins had not accomplished enough during her time in office. It was a message that gained enough momentum to pull the endorsement of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (the state affiliate of the Democrat Party) away from Jenkins.

When the election began on Tuesday, Stevenson racked up an early lead, the Star Tribune reports. Minneapolis operates on a ranked choice voting system, and 45% of first choice ballots favored Stevenson, compared to Jenkins’ 43%. After second and third choice ballots were tallied, Jenkins was declared the unofficial winner on Wednesday with a 38-vote margin. All told, the race was close enough that Stevenson could call for a recount, but his campaign team has not yet made that decision.

In her victory statement, Jenkins thanked her campaign team as well as Stevenson for challenging her on the issues.

“My team and I ran a campaign based on a deep and abiding love for this city, a campaign based on progress and experience and building bridges to keep this city moving forward,” she said. “That is exactly what we will continue to do in the next term.

“I also want to congratulate my opponents on running a tough campaign. I appreciate the ideas that have been shared throughout the course of the campaign and I hope we can work together to find common ground on the policies that we have agreement on.”

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