Green Party’s Hakeem to run for Neva Walker seat

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Farheen Hakeem, a Green who has previously run for mayor of Minneapolis and Hennepin County commissioner, is announcing her candidacy today for the House seat being vacated by Neva Walker, DFL-Minneapolis.

Hakeem ran for mayor under the Green Party banner in 2005 against incumbent R.T. Rybak and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, garnering 14 percent of the primary vote. In 2006 she won 33 percent of the vote for Hennepin County commissioner (District 4) against McLaughlin. Now she’s back for the 61B House seat, citing 2006 numbers via press release that showed “Of the 12 precincts in House District 61B, 8 were in the Hennepin County District 4, where Farheen received approximately 43% of the vote.”

One Green Party member currently serves on the Minneapolis City Council, but Green candidates have not had much recent success running for the Legislature. Julie Risser ran for the state Senate in District 41, covering Edina and west Bloomington, in 2006, and garnered considerable attention from the liberal wing of the local DFL after Andrew Borene’s withdrawal from the race. However, at that time several DFL insiders expressed concern at the precedent that would be set by party organizations supporting a candidate from another party. The same quandary is set before conservative Republicans regarding Libertarian candidates — at the end of the day, they’re still running on a different party’s ticket, and in places where machine politics matter, so does the letter after the candidate’s name.

Emails and a phone calls to local DFL officials regarding the 61B seat have gone unanswered to date.

Local bloggers speculated that Matthea Little Smith (former campaign manager for Neva Walker, currently Obama 5th District field organizer), Russ Adams (currently director of the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability), and Jeff Hayden (former City Council aide and community activist) are possible DFL candidates.

Hakeem announces her candidacy this morning at 10 a.m. at the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.

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