The 2013 Minneapolis mayoral election was held on November 5, 2013 to elect the Mayor of Minneapolis for a four-year term. This was the second mayoral election in the city’s history to use instant-runoff voting, popularly known as ranked choice voting, first implemented in the city’s 2009 elections. Municipal elections in Minnesota are nonpartisan, although candidates are able to identify with a political party on the ballot. After incumbent Mayor R. T. Rybak announced in late 2012 that he would not seek a fourth term, 35 candidates began campaigns to replace him. Many of these candidates sought the endorsement of the Minneapolis unit of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), though the convention ultimately ended with no endorsement.
Although she did not win enough votes to be victorious on the first ballot, DFLer Betsy Hodges held a “commanding” lead and was “poised” to be elected following completion of vote tabulations. Second-place finisher Mark Andrew effectively conceded on election night, saying that it was unlikely that he would overcome Hodges’ lead. Hodges was elected in the 33rd round after two days of vote tabulations.
Minneapolis’ 2009 elections were the first in the city’s history to implement a system of ranked choice voting (RCV), whereby voters ranked up to their first three choices for an office instead of voting for just one. Turnout that year was, however, the city’s lowest in decades with under 46,000 ballots being cast. Incumbent mayor R.T. Rybak won over 33,000 of those votes on the first round of voting, surpassing 22,579 which was the threshold of 50% of ballots cast plus one that were necessary to win the election. A 2010 report prepared for the Minneapolis Elections Department by David Schultz and Kristi Rendahl of Hamline University determined that it was unclear whether the RCV system had met its stated goals of “increasing voter turnout, encouraging more candidates to run, [and] promoting more support for third party candidates.”
On December 27, 2012, Rybak, who had been in office since 2001, announced that he would not seek a fourth term as mayor.
The official filing period with the City of Minneapolis for mayoral candidacy began on July 30 and lasted for two weeks, until August 13. Candidates had until August 15 to withdraw and have their names taken off of the ballot. In March 2013, City Council member Cam Gordon proposed raising the fee to run for mayor to $500, a move intended to “discourag[e] frivolous candidates” according to the Star Tribune. However, the fee remained at $20 for the 2013 filing period. While the election is officially nonpartisan, there was a space on the affidavits of candidacy for candidates to declare their “Political Party or Principle”.
A total of 35 people declared their candidacy for mayor, a number that Minneapolis elections officials claimed hadn’t been seen on the ballot since at least the 1980s, if not before. Hamline University’s Schultz commented that the crowded race would make it difficult for candidates to get name recognition, “[e]specially for some of those candidates who fall further down on the list because they probably don’t have a lot of money, and they probably aren’t going to get invited to debates.” An article in MinnPost suggested that the majority of candidates’ campaigns would not have a lot of funding with which to work, nor would they be well organized.
Gregg A. Iverson was the first of six candidates to submit their affidavits of candidacy on July 30, the first day of filing. Meanwhile, three candidates waited until August 13, the final day of the filing period, to submit their affidavits, including Cyd Gorman who was the last to file. No candidates who registered with the Elections Department took advantage of the ability to withdraw their candidacies.
In 2014, as a result of the high number of candidates, city voters approved an amendment to the city charter that raised filing requirements to either $500 or 500 signatures.