Lauraist Commies, Pirates, and 'The Rock': Minneapolis' Oddest Mayoral Candidates

There are 35 people running for mayor of Minneapolis, representing 23 different political parties — none of them the Democratic Party. Allow us to introduce you to them.

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On November 5, Minneapolis will elect a new mayor. Thanks largely to a registration process that requires paying 20 bucks and filling out a form, there are 35 people running for the office. Perhaps more interestingly, though, they represent 23 different political parties — none of them the Democratic Party. Allow us to introduce you to them.

We'll note that some of these aren't techincally "parties." For one thing, the application allows a candidate to offer a "political party or principle," so these might just be stated principles. For another, "party" implies multiple people are participating. In some of the cases below, that seems unlikely.

Count All Rankings

Candidates: One, Captain Jack Sparrow. (That is his legal name.)

Philosophy: We're starting with one of the best. Sparrow also calls himself Occupirate, offering some sense of what he's all about. He echoes some of the Occupy movement's greatest hits. One caption from the Star Tribune describes his appearance at a meeting: "Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Captain Jack Sparrow wanted the residents to vote on the [proposed new football] stadium and holding up a toy gun promised 'To be sure we will tax the rich and then we shall tax them again'." (Sparrow is pictured above.)

A blog post explains the party name:

After thinking about it, though, I decided it was worth running on one of several principles that are important to me. They are “Stop Foreclosures Now," "End Homelessness Now," and “Count all Rankings”. Because I could only run on one political principle, I recruited two other people from Occupy Homes MN to run on the other two principles, and I paid for their filing fees.

It's not entirely clear what the "rankings" one means.

Is this a real party? No, sadly.

Demand Transit Revolution

Candidates: One, Bob "Again" Carney, Jr. (pictured at left, above).

Philosophy: Carney explained his thinking in an online forum.

Simply put: the need for a high quality, affordable METRO WIDE transit system is one of the biggest equity and social justice issues we face as a society. We don’t have this today – outside of rush hour the service beyond the city street routes in Minneapolis and Saint Paul is woefully inadequate.

He also explains that a "heated discussion" referred to elsewhere doesn't match his perception. His website: (Is that a name? Maybe, apparently.)

Is this a real party? No.


Candidates: 10, including one of the apparent front-runners, Don Samuels.

Philosophy: Our comment above that none of the candidates was listed as belonging to the Democratic Party was a bit of a hedge. The DFL, as its known, is the state's affiliate with the Democrats. Five of the last six mayors of the city have represented this party.

Included in this group: Jeffery Alan Wagner, whose unorthodox campaign commercial appears at right.

Is this a real party? Yes.

End Homelessness Now

Candidates: One, Joshua Rea.

Philosophy: See above. Rea was apparently asked to run by Capt. Sparrow, not even having to put up his own $20.

Is this a real party? No.

Green Party

Candidates: Two, James Everett and Doug Mann.

Philosophy: Increased focus on environmental policy.

Is this a real party? Yes.

Independence Party

Candidates: One, apparently: Rahn V. Workcuff.

Philosophy: The site for the Minnesota Independence Party articulates its calues: fiscal responsibility, inclusivity, democracy.

Is this a real party? Yes


Candidates: Two, John Leslie Hartwig and Neal Baxter.

Philosophy: Well, the reason we said that there was apparently only one member of the Independence Party is that we're not clear if Hartwig and Baxter are independent or Independent. If they're independent, small I, then their philosophy is independence.

Is this a real party? No? Maybe?

Independent Responsible Inclusive

Candidates: One, Cam Winton.

Philosophy: Winton has a real website and an introductory YouTube video, but decided on a philosophy statement for his description. He "is a renewable-energy business leader, not a career politician," if you're into that. He is also for good schools and livability.

Is this a real party? No.

Jobs & Justice

Candidates: One, Merrill Anderson.

Philosophy: Anderson, whose Facebook page shows him holding a small dog, apparently doesn't live in Minneapolis, which seems like a negative. Here's what he wrote about Wagner's ad:


We assume he's for jobs and also justice.

Is this a real party? No.

Jobs Downtown Casino

Candidates: One, Dan Cohen.

Philosophy: Cohen, believe it or not, is the other front-runner, despite his unorthodox party declaration. In the 1960s, he was president of the city council, and calls himself an independent (small I) on his website. His priorities? Kill the Vikings Stadium and build a casino.

Is this a real party? No.

Last Minneapolis Mayor

Candidates: One, Bill Kahn. (The picture at right comes from his actual website.)

Philosophy: Kahn's philosophy, spelled out here, is simple: get rid of the mayor and replace the position with a revamped city council. He also offers a new organizational chart.

Is this a real party? No.

Lauraist Communist

Candidates: One, John Charles Wilson.

Philosophy: Having only a passing familiarity with Communism, we had to look this one up. And, like any good Socialists, the party is on Facebook. Here is the description of the party.

The Lauraist Communist Party exists to secure political independence for the people of the Midwestern United States and a homeland for the Lauraist religion. We use the term “Nation of Edgerton” to describe the area within a 173-mile radius of Minneapolis, Minnesota. We are a non-traditional Communist party, based on the ideology of Lauraism: the belief that Laura Ingalls Wilder is God, Communism (public ownership of business) is the best form of government, age of consent laws should be repealed, public transit should be returned to the routes, fares, and schedules of 18 September 1970, the Nation of Edgerton should secede from the United States as a Lauraist homeland, and all people, including children, deserve as much personal liberty as possible consistent with public safety and the rights of others. Capitalism is a per se violation of people’s rights by exploitation.

So that's that.

Is this a real party? We'll say yes, just for kicks. (Vote Mary!)

Legacy-Next Generation

Candidates: One, Edmund Bernard Bruyere.

Philosophy: There's a brief bio at a political website which indicates that Bruyere is a veteran and a Native American. Otherwise he's a bit of an enigma.

Is this a real party? No. (Searches for the "party" name return a lot of Star Trek results.)


Candidates: One, Christopher Robin Zimmerman.

Philosophy: The Libertarian Party of Minnesota's webpage tells us what we already know: they are the self-proclaimed "defender[s] of your individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Is this a real party? Yes.

Local Energy/Food

Candidates: One, Troy Benjegerdes.

Philosophy: Benjegerdes gave an interview to a local outlet describing his top three priorities: "promote local food, local energy, and local currency." That last point is "a bit on the wonkish-fringe, but I believe it really goes to the heart of doing something practical and achievable about rising global income inequality."

Is this a real party? No.

Pirate Party

Candidates: One, Kurtis Hanna.

Philosophy: First of all, we will note that it is an outrage that Capt. Sparrow isn't a member of this party. It seems like a good fit?

But Hanna is their guy, representing the party's values. There's no American party website, so here's Canada's description of their philosophy: reform copyright and patent law, increase online privacy.

Is this a real party? Sort of. The Pirate Party won seats in the Icelandic Parliament earlier this year, but it's not a party in the U.S. yet.

The People's Choice

Candidates: One, James "Jimmy" Stroud, Jr.

Philosophy: We give Stroud credit. It is a savvy move to have "the people's choice" appear next to your name on the ballot. Should have gone with "Endorsed by Barack Obama" or something, though.

His campaign page notes that he is a "Modern Day Renaissance Man," emphasizing his diverse career history. No political views are articulated.

Is this a real party? No.

Police Reform

Candidates: One, Cyd Gorman.

Philosophy: There is nothing out there about Gorman. So we're guessing: police reform?

Is this a real party? No.


Candidates: One (one!), Ole Savior. (Ole Savior!)

Philosophy: This is not an adopted name like Sparrow's, but apparently Savior's actual (and providential) one.

His platform starts off with an oldie-but-goodie: getting rid of nuclear weapons. He is against Obamacare and for maintaining Social Security and Medicare. He is against Wall Street, somewhat putting him at odds with the national party.

Is this a real party? In most states.

Simplify Government

Candidates: One, Mark Anderson.

Philosophy: Anderson's platform is … spare. He wants the city to concentrate on basic services (public safety, roads) and phase out business licenses and welfare programs. Simple!

Is this a real party? No.

Socialist Workers Party

Candidates: One, Tony Lane.

Philosophy: Lane represents a long-standing left-wing group in the state, aiming for a "radical democracy that places people's lives under their own control," according to its website. "We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible." No word on their opinion of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Is this a real party? Yes.

Stop Foreclosures Now

Candidates: One, Jaymie Kelly.

Philosophy: The third of the Sparrow triumvirate.

Is this a real party? No.

We The People…

Candidates: One, Abdul Rahaman, "The Rock."

Philosophy: Earlier this month, Rahaman gave an interview to a local radio station, noting that the government is no longer run by the people, but by special interests. His goal is to democratize decision-making, involving the people in every decision.

Is this a real party? No, but we're confident that if any of these ad hoc parties could thrive in Minneapolis, it's the one that encourages everyone to get involved in politics with little limitation.

Hat-tip: Maggie Koerth-Baker.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.