Minneapolis’ crowded mayoral race has turned into the Battle to Be Nice, and just about everybody credits the use of ranked-choice voting for the absence of anything resembling negative campaigning. The reason: If you call your opponent a dummy, there is a very good chance the dummy’s supporters will scratch you off their list as a possible second or third choice. And the key to winning appears certain to depend on those second and third choices. “We don’t have the negative ads to say, ‘This person is horrible, so vote for my guy,’ ” said Lynne Bolton, campaign manager for Jackie Cherryhomes. “We’re used to the system where you have two choices, and one is bad and the other is good.”
She adds: “We’ve had so much negativity. It’s a real pleasure to be involved in an election where you can’t do that. It’s self-defeating. It’s requiring people to talk about who they are and differentiate themselves.”
It is also an election where voters must make decisions without some of their traditional sources of guidance. There is no incumbent to love or loathe. There’s no DFL endorsement, thanks to a deadlocked city convention. And there was no primary to narrow the field of 35 candidates.