Former Mayor R.T. Rybak endorses Mohamud Noor, challenger to 21-term State Representative Phyllis Kahn for the DFL spot

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced his support for Mohamud Noor to represent parts of the University of Minnesota and surrounding neighborhoods in the state Legislature.

The hotly contested 2014 race to out seat 21-term Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, is causing some to question if her performance truly reflects the district’s evolving community and some think the area should be represented by a new face.

This is the first time for the former mayor to endorse a candidate for the state Legislature.

Rybak said Noor, a Minneapolis School Board member, would reflect the diverse demographics of the University, Cedar-Riverside and surrounding neighborhoods and bring a new energy to the Capitol.

“Kahn has had a good, long career [that] she should be proud of,” Rybak said. “I just feel right now it’s time for a new leader.”

In the last election, Kahn won with nearly 79 percent of the vote. Despite the recent endorsement, Kahn said she’s confident in her position, noting Noor hasn’t been active at the Capitol in the past.

Noor serves as interim executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, boosting his support from Somali-Americans.

This district represents one of the broadest reaches in the city, Rybak said, from the most affluent students to the poorest residents.

Last month, nearly 750 political activists flooded Coffman Union’s Great Hall for the Ward 6, Precinct 3 caucus. Noor’s registered supporters outmatched Kahn’s, strengthening his presence at the DFL convention that will take place next month.

Kahn said the district would lose vital influence in the Legislature if Noor is elected because she currently chairs the legacy committee and has a heavy hand in the budget committee — leadership positions new legislators are likely unable to hold.

Noor ran for a state Senate seat in 2012, losing in the primaries to Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis.

Dziedzic, Gov. Mark Dayton, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn, and Ward 6 City Councilmember Abdi Warsame are endorsing Kahn in the upcoming election.

Noor said he’s honored by the former mayor’s endorsement and it will help him make his case on the campaign trail.

“I’m enjoying the excitement and celebrating the endorsement from R.T. Rybak and moving forward towards the election,” Noor said.