Published from In These Times

August 11, 2008  – By Mark Berlin

Farheen Hakeem knew she was doing something right when local Democrats came calling.

In 2006, on the heels of a failed run as a Green Party candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, Hakeem ran for commissioner of Minnesota’s Hennepin County board. Although she lost to long-time Democratic-machine candidate Peter McLaughlin, she earned 33 percent of the vote.

Democrats took notice. Hakeem received e-mails and phone calls from local Democratic Party activists who were impressed with her skills as a grassroots campaigner. And when Minnesota state Rep. Neva Walker announced she would not be seeking re-election this year, local Democrats urged Hakeem to run for the seat as one of them.

Hakeem declined, deciding instead to enter the race as a Green.