Mpls mayoral race: Betsy Hodges and Mark Andrew exchange harsh words, sort of

One is allegedly a victim of "the disease of small vision," the other a purveyor of "baseless attacks."  
It's certainly not Keith Ellison-Chris Fields, but it's the best fans of Twin Cities politics can hope for this year.

SEE ALSO: R.T. Rybak dissed by North Carolina newspaper

Recently, the rhetoric between the two leading contenders to succeed R.T. Rybak as Minneapolis mayor -- Betsy Hodges and Mark Andrew -- has been heating up a little bit. Since both are progressive liberals, it hasn't gotten beyond lukewarm, but still, it's a start.

According to a Southwest Journal report, during a debate on Monday night, Andrew was asked whether he'd push for a new hotel near the Convention Center. He used his response to take a shot at Hodges, who he characterized as having "the disease of small vision."

That didn't sit well with Hodges's camp. In a fundraising email sent after the debate, Hodges communications director Aaron Wells characterized Andrew's comment as a "baseless attack."

"... I just wasn't prepared for the shock I felt last night seeing Mark Andrew try to hijack a policy forum to engage in a relentless series of baseless attacks -- while Betsy and the other two candidates calmly continued to have a rational discussion about their ideas for Minneapolis's future," Wells wrote, going on to ask supporters to give "whatever you can give -- to send Mark a message that being dishonest and nasty will get him nowhere in Minneapolis."

In a statement released later on, Andrew acknowledged "it got a little bit spicy on Monday night," but wrote that "the duty of political candidates is to provide contrasts between him or herself and their fellow candidate."

So yeah, don't expect Andrew to have to apologize for calling one of his fellow contenders for R.T.'s throne a "lowlife scumbag" or something similarly outrageous anytime soon. Still, we're glad to see the Minneapolis mayoral race won't be a contest between two candidates striving to see who can play nicest.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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I'd hardly call Mark and Betsy both progressive liberals... and I'm surprised the reporting thus far has neglected to mention these facts. Mark is a big-business lobbyist power candidate driven only by money.

Fact: Mark Andrew was interrogated by the feds for corruption ten years ago as he was leaving his role as a Hennepin County Commissioner.

Fact: Mark Andrew supported a work-for-welfare program that would have forced needy individuals unskilled at roadwork to work on 35W construction projects.

Fact: Mark Andrew was the flag-waving champion for the downtown HERC trash burner when he was Commissioner. His green marketing firm GreenMark has Xcel Energy as a client, and he's flip-flopped on energy and environment issues repeatedly.

Fact: at the first debate, Mark Andrew said that the Vikings stadium was troubled and a bad deal, and a week later he told North Minneapolis residents in a debate that anyone who didn't vote for the Vikings stadium voted to kill jobs. Probably because his green marketing firm's biggest clients are sports stadiums.

Fact: the people around Mark's campaign are big-time lobbyists and old-school DFLers that want to retain power. That's not progressive.

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