St. Louis Park could be first U.S. city to elect Somali-American mayor

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Depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s election, St. Louis Park could become the first city in the United States to elect a Somali-American mayor.

City Council Member Nadia Mohamed is running for mayor against retired banker Dale A. Anderson. Mohamed, 27, was elected to an at-large council seat in 2019. Then just 23, she was the youngest person to serve on the St. Louis Park City Council.

Mohamed has campaigned for investment in community policing work and programs to make homeownership more affordable. She is endorsed by outgoing Mayor Jake Spano, who is not seeking re-election, and also has been endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state Rep. Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins.

Anderson has been critical of of St. Louis Park’s spending and use of tax-increment financing. In recent weeks, he has been vocal about his concerns about anti-Semitism in the city. On his campaign website, Anderson notes that he’s taught classes for a decade at the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies, and believes “a well-run city needs the wisdom of a Senior Citizen.”

Mohamed’s campaign noted she has met with synagogue and Jewish community leaders about anti-Semitism and safety in St. Louis Park.

State Rep. Deqa Dhalac of South Portland, Maine, became the first Somali-American to serve as mayor of an American city in 2021 when she was selected by that city’s six-member council. But Mohamed will be the first elected Somali-American mayor if she wins Tuesday, as well as St. Louis Park’s first Black mayor.

Correction: The list of Mohamed’s endorsements has been corrected, after an earlier version incorrectly stated that Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty backed Mohamed; she has not issued an endorsement in the race. The story has also been updated to note that both Mohamed and Anderson have voiced stances against anti-Semitism.