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Rybak endorses Noor over veteran Kahn in Minneapolis House race

The former Minneapolis mayor is supporting School Board Member Mohamud Noor, who has much support from the Somali community.

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak publicly endorsed Mohamud Noor Thursday in the contentious state House race in Minneapolis’ District 60B.

Noor, a Minneapolis School Board member, is challenging longtime state Rep. Phyllis Kahn for the DFL endorsement, in a race that featured a fight at a February precinct caucus.

After the ruckus, the caucus was reconvened with added security two weeks later, and Noor, with much support from the Somali community, emerged with a 2-1 lead in delegates from that location.

Rybak, who had been a convener at the second caucus, said in a statement:

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“I have come to know Mohamud Noor as someone with a quality all too rare in politics — he is a very good listener. That is especially important in a district that spans so many diverse communities. Mohamud Noor is our best choice for bringing all our voices together in debates at the Capitol and in the community and getting us working together for the common good.”

Noor posted news of the Rybak endorsement on his Facebook page and acknowledged the support in a statement:

“I am deeply honored to have the support of R.T. Rybak. He has been an inspiration to me in my political career and I look forward to building on his progressive legacy in Minneapolis and Minnesota.”

Noor works as executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. Well-known Somali-American Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, though, supports Kahn.

Party delegates will meet April 5 to consider the endorsement.

Eric Roper of the Star Tribune notes that Kahn and Rybak have skirmished in the past:

Kahn and Rybak have had their political differences. In 2012, she penned an op-ed for MinnPost comparing the mayor to Nixon for his waving stance on stadium subsidies. Rybak signed onto a letter in 2012 asking for Kahn to apologize for saying “someone at the city should be executed” for election day voting lines. In 2011, they were on opposite sides of a debate over Neighborhood Revitalization Program.