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Jacob Frey reelected as Minneapolis mayor in wake of George Floyd protests

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) was elected to a second term, The Associated Press projected Wednesday.

“Tabulation for mayor is complete: Jacob Frey has been elected,” the city’s election agency tweeted.

Frey, who first won his office in 2017, beat out a small handful of Democratic challengers with just under 43 percent of the vote, outrunning his nearest competitor by more than 20 points. His victory marks another win for the establishment wing of the Democratic Party over progressives seeking more rapid social change. 

The Minneapolis mayoral race was shaped largely by the debate over the role of law enforcement in the city that was rocked by the police killing of George Floyd last May. Former officer Derek Chauvin was later charged in connection with the killing and convicted of second-degree murder, among other things. 

Floyd’s death also sparked nationwide protests and unrest in cities across the country, including Minneapolis. Demonstrators called for police reform and an end to police brutality and racial injustice. 

Voters in the city Tuesday also rejected an amendment to overhaul law enforcement by replacing the police department with a new safety agency focused on public health.

Frey had advocated for a more step-by-step change to policing in Minneapolis, while progressives had pushed for the larger overhaul. A majority of the City Council last year vowed to abolish the police department before backtracking.

Frey campaigned on leaving the police department in place while adding staff to bolster its response to mental health emergencies and other nonemergency calls.

The issue remains a significant fissure within the Democratic Party, with moderates still smarting over U.S. House losses in 2020 that some blame on the “defund the police” movement supported by some progressives.

Tags defund the police movement George Floyd George Floyd killing George Floyd protests Jacob Frey Minneapolis mayoral race police reform

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