MINNEAPOLIS — Some experts are predicting there will be a real shift in who sits on the Minneapolis City Council and their stance on police reform is a driving force for voters.
Historically, those council seats are stable, they rarely change, according to University of Minnesota political professor Larry Jacobs. He predicts that won't be the case Tuesday night.
"There is a strong feeling in Minneapolis that some of the incumbents who pushed hard on public safety, who talked about defunding the police have gone too far," he said. "There are also some races where the incumbents who oppose those things are facing a lot of criticism."
Jacobs thinks as many as four wards could see new representation. That's a difference-maker for the 13-member body, made up of democrats who don't always get along.
"It's particularly on the liberal, left wing of the democratic party that we're seeing a battle royale," said Jacobs.
In a shift, Jacobs calls some candidates more moderate or "pragmatic".
Candidates like Emily Koski, he said, who opposes dismantling the police department. That's unlike Jeremy Schroeder who she's trying to unseat in ward 11, the southernmost part of the city.
"The country is wondering what is going on in Minneapolis and will it embrace a very sharp turn towards a new approach to public safety or will it have a second thought and instead have a mid-course correction," said Jacobs.
He says the tightly contested races mean it's likely we won't know all the results Tuesday night.
What he does know is that all eyes will be on Minneapolis.
"I think the Minneapolis City Council races are getting unusual attention because they're seen as a bellwether for the direction of the democratic party," said Jacobs.
Jacobs says it's also very hard to predict city council races because usually the number of voters isn't very large.
And this year, Minneapolis has seen a significant number of early voters, which he says makes it even more difficult to tell whose supporters are showing up.